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12°C, sunny int. + S wind.

Got the car back yesterday with new numberplates. Saturday’s repair revealed that we have been driving around for three years with the wrong number-plates on the car. VW readily admit that they made the mistake- which leaves me pondering the legal position.
Thursday:  this day (today)is tired-day. This has been the case for Thursdays for most of my life- why might that be?
Live spaces have still prohibited the word “Chicken” in blog entry titles.

Stalking horse

12°C, dry pm.

Linseed: I’m going to refer to this picture as the Stalking Horse for now. Below is a closeup, after 3 sessions of work on it. Notice how much better the colours are now that the second linseed layer is on. though the picture was wety when this photo was taken, the surface will change little, only trhe whites will matt over normally at this point.

Picture thinks

12°C, clear, mild but rain tonight.

No pictures today, but that last painting has the old feeling back. Good eh?- especially after that recent long haul with the "Pointers".
I need to find a method for painting fur not hair, but fine animal fur. Holbein does it so well, it must be possible to take on some of that skill.

I was also going to tell you about the man walking his dog from his pick-up truck. The other one I wanted ot talk about is the random distribution of Doodlebug hits in London can’t produce an even covering of hits in the city. The locals thought certain streets were being singled out. They saw clusters of hits, and they concluded wrongly.
Maybe I will tel you later in the week- if you promise to be good.

Whishaw horse

12°C, windy+sun

Linseed: Picked up the two heads picture from last week, then painted over the back head ready to put a horse in. There have been two sessions today, the second with linseed, but that wasn’t such a good idea- enthusiasm got the upper hand this afternoon. The underpainting was not really dry enough so it moved as the linseed layer was brushed over. I have been using a larger but very soft brush for this which is working well, the tip is very fine and avoids the need for a smaller pencil-brush.
Car Alarms: my car alarm is going off every few minutes. Clearly some electrical fault is triggering it as there is no outside event to set it off. This is very annoying: it causes sleepless nights, probably annoys the neighbours, and may attract wrath from others. All I want to do is permanently disable it, they serve no purpose since everyone ignores them- the result being like a modern "Peter cried wolf".
Finally, after visits to three garages, numerous phone calls, and much frustration I have a temporary solution. I can lock the car without the alarm going live by following a roundablut routine. locking the car from the passenger side internally, then shutting that door. It doesn’t work from the driver side- that would engague the alarm. I get repars to it for free as there is a month left on the car’s guarentee, we even get a new number plate, but that is another story. More next week on that.

Happy Birthday

12° some rain, some shine…

Charmed:My tutor group sang "Happy Birthday" today- twice. Half of them are in the senior choir, some did that alto-harmony thing which made it all quite magical. I probably came across as self-conscious, but inside, I loved it. No one has done that before. The other half bought a nice cake with candles( which they are not allowed to light).  
A special group! That kept me going all day- thanks girls.

Holbein & Velazquez

8°C, clear.

Art Dept. trip to london: I nearly saw the Velazquez, but didn’t. They want you to buy a ticket an hour before you are allowed in at the National.  That mean’t missing the next appointment- the only recourse was to buy the book- which I will look at lafter logging off here. I took the party of Y12s down to Tate Britain- whose name I still get mixed up with Tate Modern sometimes (call me old fashioned why don’t you?).
Tate Britain are showing Holbein, which was stunning, unfathomable and indescernable. Stunning- because of the detail, textures, linear drawing /painting of portraits; unfathomable- because it took me a while to figure out why I felt the images were so flat- like cut-outs; and indescernable because the minatures really require reading glasses – thay are very small and need close inspection. The Velazquez would have made the perfect counterpoint to Holbein, both men being court painters to respective kings, both formal without losing humanity in the portraits, both stunningly skillful. Oh and the Rembrandt room of the National Gallery filled my head with thoughts about technique, lighting and colour.
Also, thoughts turned to horses- hence the picture below. Both that horse and the guardsman are looking at me in that shot- that boy must be little ofer 20 years old. A horse is due to make an appearance in my next picture. This has been a day of consideirng how.

looking in the dark

9°, showers & sun

Turpentine: playing with images – looking for a new painting to do. It seems harder these days but the solution to that is probably to make more use of photography. The photo below is little more than a merge of a previous couple of sketches posted here about a month back.
The contrast is realistically low here, its far better to build up from a narrow range of tones and expand outwards.
It only needed a single brush, a cheap No.8 round with very soft bristles, though it does have a good point to it.
I have ot say there are things I don’t like about the picture, that figure on the right will have to go – a quick wipe with a rag soaked in spirit will get it off. Perhaps the horse can step in.

Word gen.

12°C, little of the promised rain.

Spammers have gone all ecumenical today:
And to pass, when her fair is full and fish and the oil unto Zechariah
Come, fifty loops in my god called to alive:
The Shorts are out! The Gap is Good! Take advantage!
RREF has been on a steady rise for a week with HUGE volume. Now the
shorts created a gap providing a second chance to get in on RREF.
Don’t be the one that missed out be the one who rakes it in next
week. Grab RREF first thing Thursday morning.
Alternative: Who will act as gatekeeper to the gatekeepers?
Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
From the Robert Frost poem ‘Mending Wall’

Who knows where such words doth cometh. Senders now enlisted in the great book of Junk-senders, forever to be deleted with callous automation, unseen by human eye from this day forth.

Smooth train to Bourneville

15°C, windy, some sun, some rain

Day out of school today. I was on a GCSE marking course. It ran as expected but the rooms were very cramped, so no space to put everything on desks. Food was better than average. Bourneville is a nice place, Birmingham deserves a better reputation.
More interestingly: the train journeys were smooth, they must have er… round wheels now or something. So smooth that to draw a picture as wel travelled along was possible. Below is one of them.
The carriage was quite crowded but no-one seemed to notice me drawing, perhaps Birmingham trains are getting like london where everyone ignores each other.

Animated splines

11°C, W winds; C=60miles.

3DS Max: further development to the Big Digger, it has hydralic pipes that follow the animation of the moving arms. The lines are controlled by spline-vertices – which means dots that marks the key positions along the pipe’s centre line. These points can be fixed in postion in relation to something else in the 3D model. Some pointsare attached to one part, others are attached to another moving part which has the effect of bending the resulting pipe as the digger moves about.
Isn’t it nice when it works out without a glitch? The help files was clear and to the point on this one, I still maintain that Max’s help files are amongst the best in the business.
The video of it in action is here: VIDEO
Wouldn’t it be good to get a bit of bounce in the hose, it is rubbery after all.

Rememberance Sunday: I was caught in Repton at 11.00 this morning, I made my way through the town and stopped by the church where wreaths were placed. I heard a bugle. I also heard the car horn of a driver having a tantrum (presumably about the traffic jam). It’s an odd fact that of the two occasions that I have stopped in a village like this, there have been drivers behaving in that manner. Last time if was a boy-racer who blasted the horn and revved up his engine as the bugle notes echoed in the distance. Once the traffic started again, he roared through the village as if at the start of a race.