28°C, ++thunder
What a day- thunder lightning and lots of lovely rain. We may have seen mammatus clouds ( hope I spelt that properly). Here’s a site about them: Hastings
It’s so hot & close now that I have the fan on in here.

On a different tack: BBC on painted portaiture.



Cycling: 42 miles in stunning weather., 24°C.
Summer’s in the last phase- golden fields, but the trees are looking slightly caramelised. Hedgerows are laden with berries, blackberries are the tastiest & some roads take a long time to travel along. the ones at the top seem the nicest, more sun or fewer little hands/paws,  I don’t know.

Webdesign: more CSS shenanegans. It’s rather fiddly I have to admit! Setting up pages to use as templates seems like a good idea but then the layout changes when areas are marked-up as editable regions. Oh well, getting used to the idea now though, but Dreamweaver offers to link with a CSS editor. Now I’m curious- what is a css editor like to work with?
Here is a good site to get some ideas, w3schools. I learn’t a lot from these pages.

Me recovered from that enigmatic ill-feeling of the last few days- don’t know what that was all about.

Oil in waves

No cycling, not feeling very well this weekend.

Paint: Two pieces today- continuing a face and started waves breaking on a beach. They are based on photos taken in Wales last week. Incidentally, there has been a drowning from the same beach, two teenage lads were lost. the picture isn’t really meant as any kind of response to that, but it’s a co-incidence. I may change some elements in the picture as a result.
It’s not as easy as I thought it would be, but then this page is to work it out- the hope is that I will see a good bit and develop that further into a more complete picture.
You really have to understand how the waves move and the breaking process occurs. there are a lot of factors to consider when re-building it into paint- the waves colour comes from reflection, transparency ( brown sand, other waves, deep or shallow water), overlapping waves can be built up with lines painted with a nice soft pointed brush that has a wide heel. The brush can then produce lines that vary a lot with pressure. I used lots of oil mdeium to keep the colours flowing together too.
I suspect that some problems with the waves breaking can be sorted in another layer- at the moment it’s to wet to do that. the key is , as always- observation.

Vera Drake

A most powerful film by Mike Leigh. It’s about a well meaning woman who performed back-street abortions in 1950. The setting was perfectly re-created, beautifully shot and lighting was interesting. It was a very closely observed study, full of compassion at the same time as traumatic to see. There wasn’t anything gruesome shown, but the personal focus is what made it so powerful. It’s not a film to recommend if you want a romantic night out at the flix. But it will leave you not knowing how to follow it up, no point putting on any music, or watching anything else on the small screen. I’m not giving anything away.
My rating= 10/10!

We’re going to have known nothing like it (again)!

GCSE results day.
News report this morning must have bene easy to plan- just use the same report as lat year, add the same controvesy and film a high ranking school as they open their results. Then have a debate about it getting easier, standards and kids working hard.
Easy television.

Art: Stone, art & public/private money all debated on the  BBC
It seems the press have ignored the facts behind the story in case it spoils their sermons.

Visual noise

Rain/ later  & therefore warm. 21°C.
Visual noise: a good way to describe visual noise is to use analogies. If you have the radio on in the background, not clear enough to discern voices or instruments, or is there is a car alarm running in your street then you’ll know about noise. Visual noise is pictures, patterns or textures that don’t really serve any purpose. they attract attention to things for a moment but that’s all. Things that are plain, smooth untextured are therefore sometmes more relaxing. think of the relief when said car alarm stops, or an annoying buzzing sound from the fridge ceases.
This all came up in a discussion about taste inthe context of home decoration. We were sitting in a room full of textured furniture, patterned wallpaper and net curtains. The patterns used motifs that didn’t relly fit together properly and faded out at the eadge of each repeat. It’s as if the designer didn’t know how to merge the motif with the next repeat. Once you spot this you wonder what’s the point, why not leave it plain.
So why not switch the radio of when you’ve stopped listening to it, switch of the TV in the next room and only put it back on when you want to see something specific.
It’s all down to "comfort range". The range is defined by stimulation levels which vary between people, the time of day, how old or tired they are. Some people like to sit at their computer playing a game with the TV and their stereo on, some don’t.
I’m trying to gain an understanding of why people want the TV on, while saying they aren’t really watching it. Why haven’t they switched it off then?
more another time….

We’re going to have known nothing like it.

A-level results today, GCSEs next week. No doubt they will be higher grades than ever, no doubt the arguments in the press will revolve around "are they getting easier?". No doubt we’ll have known nothing like it!
So the debate- are they easier, is the teaching better, are the kids getting more intelligent (as someone suggested this morning on breakfast news). Normally the alternatives are presented as 1 OR another OR another. the debate has a momentun because each has their case, each has sound reasons for holding to their view. That’s the trouble with dogma, it’s no timpossible that all sides are right.  Does anyone consider the possibility that the exams are getting easier, easier because the kids are better taught and possibly more intelligent as well. So it is possible that all of those explainations are occuring at once.
Intelligence does go up when people are better fed, they also grow taller too. that brings me to my next question- are people better fed over the last 10 years? Could someone out there look into the range between the malnourished ( McDonalds) generation and the middle-class diet. I don’t want to hear about the rich-poor divide, I want absolutes. The poor are better fed these days too, it’s just that the wealthy are even more so. There is no gain in turning the discussion into a pseudo-marxist rant. As one woman on TV said this morning, the A-level’s results make up 4% of 18 year olds. A tiny drop compared to the vast majority, one fifth of whom are semi-illiterate ( apparently*).

Anyway, I’d better go into school to see my tutor group & get some materials to plan for the start of term. It’s going to be a perfect day – the weather anyway.

*  why not look through the list of updated spaces, plenty of illiterates there- and that’s from a group of people who like writing!

Now that pencil is sharp.

24+°C maybe later.
Finished another. Who knows which one is preferable? Please feel free to leave a comment with your vote/opinion. They are both between A4-A3 size(some antique imperial measurements I think); oil on canvas and currently steadily drying- which will take a few weeks to touch-dry.
Below are the two pictures for comparison. I intend to delete them after a week or so from this blog but they will remin in the finished oil paintings section after that. 
I may sell one of these on eBay, or at least try to. Not sure about this idea though, I miss pictures when they go.

What a name! But here’s a quote:
" funny thing about regret- it’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done"

More pencil sharpenings

The good summer weather returns. 21°C.
Oil: Here is a new picture that hasn’t been photographed before. Since it’s a re-working of another painting seen here, there didn’t seem much point showing progress images. This painting is near complete, just some colour issues to sort out with one or two more glazes.

Walrus– it has undercarriage now, the pivot points are in the right place, but the axes are not aligned to the baseline, trouble is- I don’t know what the angle is supposed to be- it’s going to have to be trial & error. It’s inclined in 2 axes as well.  A conundrum.



Modelling in 3DS, this time it’s a Walrus . Like the last one ( Barracuda), it’s a model that was started ages ago & not finished. The thing I like about this one is the history of the plane it’s based on. It was made by Supermarine, the same people who made the Spitfire, except it’s a biplane, made of wood+canvas & the curious thing is- it was designed AFTER the Spitfire. Ok it was a warplane but used almost exclusively for rescuing RAF aircrew from the English Channel and the North Sea.


Got a new monitor, Dell 1130, 21" and in black. It’s dead sharp and I’m still setting up the colour- but so far it’s looking very promising. Seems there is no need to consider an LCD panel now.
The dogs have a new haircut, and as a result they are hyperactive now.=berzerk.