scribbles tagged ‘painting’

living in a Klimt

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

alternative title:  upping the sparkle quotient (part 2)

The hallway is a little darker in gold than the original yellow. I find the extra contrast and toffee-shades pleasing:

Hallaway before painting hallway kitchen door

The bathroom is also a little darker in the gold than the original white and ‘plaster au naturelle’. Here you can see a little of the sparkle in natural light:

Bathroom paint peeled-off Bathrrom after painting

The gold and toffee shades seem to change with very subtle changes in the lighting. The walls seem to emanate warm emotions with thier photograph-eluding sparkliness. They make me feel like I’m living in a Gustav Klimt composition.  A very pleasing place to be:

Hallway after painting

living in a Klimt
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One flew over the fairy’s nest

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

As a child, I remember falling in love with Richard Dadd’sThe fairy fellers’ master stroke“‘ when I first saw it, in the Tate gallery. I went on to read about Richard’s exceptional and tragic life. When studying for my psychology degree I recognised some of his paintings on the covers of books about mental health

Richard Dadd stayed in the hospital that is now known as the Maudsley hospital. It’s probably the oldest (1247) psychiatric hospital in the world!

Tiger is now an ‘informal‘ patient here. Informal means that theoretically he consents to being there – he can leave. He believes that he would be sectioned if he tried to leave. I’d be scared if he didn”t have 24hr  professional care nearby

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our night in

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 | tags: ,  |


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portraiting iterations

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

Producing a painting is very different from producing high quality software, it also has some key similarities. The similarities stem from the fact that you can’t do something this complicated right the first time, you need to take steps and reflect on how well each step is working, then make changes to improve it. You need to iterate.

Different iterations have a different focus. Below are the iterations for my last portrait, of Jasper. The inspirational photograph is on the left hand side, the 6 iterations move from a sketch on the right to the final version next to the photograph. I planned 4 iterations and had to add one because iteration 4 (the pale one) didn’t work aswell as I’d hoped.

Portrait of Jasper - photo and different painting production stages

Plan: The conceptual work for the painting is done before the sketch; getting to know the subject (Jasper) and the ‘user’ (Jaspers owner) what does the user want from the picture, where would they like to hang it in their home, how do they see the subject? This is the eqivalent of market research, product planning, and conceptual design explorations for a software project

Architecture: The first sketches are of the composition, the placement of features the use of space. No paint. How is the information organised in a way that makes sense. You can see how I made Jasper’s eyes look more upwards and towards the viewer than in the photograph. I wanted Jasper to look more directly at the ‘user’ . This is the ‘Information Architecture’ for a software development project – where is everything in relationship to everything else

Foundations: The first coat of paint is a base, it wont be seen in the final version but it emphasises or mutes the colours on top. For darker areas use a dark base, for brighter colours use a light base. For software this is  equivalent to wireframing the user-journeys through the software. The text may not be accurate, but the general idea of the interactions are in place

Technical investigations: With this painting I tried several techniques that I had never used before such as layering a watery-thin layer of white paint then using a brush to partially remove it, hoping this would create a finer texture impression of fur than I could achieve with a brush. For software projects the developers are often trying out how new technologies that can solve technical challenges and add value to the design. I love watching software engineers get all excited about technical proof of concepts

Filling in the framework: Successive layers add more detailed colour and texture, I had trouble getting the colour-mix to work. Between each coat the artist reflects on how well they are achieving their vision, making adjstments with each coat. Gradually the painting begins to look like the final product. But it’s clumsy, edges are not smooth, features are slightly mishapen, colours are too bright.  For software products this is the production and testing of the code

Fit and finnish: The final level details, this might be a glaze wash over the painting. For software this can be checking the details are consistent, the performance is smooth, the visuals are complete.

Commissions considered…

portraiting iterations
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Saturday, October 30th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

famleey portrait
Excellent creative spelling and detailed art work by a young un.

Altogether a very good looking famleey

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improvising product for volume

Thursday, January 21st, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

30 second sketchFiddling.  

With the wendy house blog and fireplace.

Updating my banner with a stylized picture of a gravestone that sits under a Cedar tree in the Cemetry junction graveyard.  

A speedy idealised  self-portrait on a post-it note without the aid of a mirror has become gravatar.   The hair looks like it has a little more volume than in real life.   I may fiddle with impovised product for volume to capture that ’80 big hair thing in real life.  

Some things move on and others move around and some things  get sketched on post-it notes then blogged.   Tis the way of things.

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coptic Cairo

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

hanging church wall decorationThe word ‘Coptic’ appears to refer to an Egyptian language spoken in Pharonic times  and currently written with the Greek alphabet

The language is now used in the Coptic church,   a christian church with it’s own Pope (not the  Catholic one).    The apostle Mark reputedly bought christianity to Egypt  in the first century AD when Egypt was governed by Rome, Emperor Nero

The Copts seceded from the other Christian churches in the 5th century  because they rejected the decision of the Council of Chalcedon (451)  that Christ had a dual nature, both human and divine, believing instead that he had a single, divine nature

Christianity is now the largest minority Religion in Egypt.   About 95% of Egyptians are Muslim.   The christains have a difficult relationship with the state, government and some Muslims

hanging church wall paintingThe external architecture of the christain churches was such that I found them difficult to spot.   The give-away sign was a cross,   normally on a dome

I visited the 7th century St. Mary’s hanging church in Coptic Ciaro.   Called the ‘hanging’ church because it  is built overhanging the Roman gatehouse of old Cairo.    This church was increadibly beautiful.   Painted walls with motif’s that often looked celtic, arabic writing, gold-leaf

Wall panels were delicately carved wood inlaid with ivory in regular geometric designs.   Often straight lines constructed to enable you to see circles and curves.    The colours created a warm celebratory atmosphere,   very different from the white-washed  walls of many Church of England churches.   This celebration in art appeals to me.

Mary and Jesus - Coptic churchI was suprised to find the paintings of people (Mary, Jesus, Saints) depicted very pale-skinned people that looked like North Europeans,    an over-emphasis on pale skins given the likely colouring of the people portrayed.   They were at least portrayed with brown-eyes and dark hair

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wall of remembrance

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 | tags: ,  |
Gassed (1919) by John Singer Sargent, Imperial War Museum

'Gassed' (1919) by John Singer Sargent, Imperial War Museum

A BBC history trail provides some context and history to this painting and John Singer Sargent,   the American artist comissioned to paint Anglo American cooperation

The painting  is huge, silent and painful.   The soliders blinded by mustard gas walk towards the  tent for treatment.   They follow each other in a chain of  hand on the shoulder, unable to see their steps  

Chemical warfare

Before seeing this painting I had only ever known John’s witty, bright and insightful society portraits.   Carnation, lily, lily rose has decorated my home since the early 1980’s. It was one of my first loves, the warm light of the lanterns, the of the grass, linen and flowers,  the children  silently together with thier lives ahead.  The bright optimism is good company on my bedroom wall

Pain is remembrance, you cannot forget pain (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)

The pain in ‘Gassed’ doesn’t need to hang on my wall to haunt me.   Like an old friend,   I will visit the painting again

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early captive

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

My parents took the family on a day trip to London, to the Tate gallery.   At 7 yrs I was not well equipped to appreciate the treasures on display.   Mum and Dad seemed to spend ages looking at dull boring pictures of clouds (Turner).   I asked permission to explore the galleries at my own pace and was allowed to wander off.   I walked briskly,   errr ran,  around the building capturing impressions browsing for literally seconds at vaguely interesting paintings that I’ve long since forgotten.  

Then.   I turned the corner of a gallery to be confronted by the death of Chatterton.  

His vibrant orange hair glowing,   his purple velvet breaches full of warm lively texture in the daylight.   The torn paper on the floor.   His face white as marble.   Clearly dead.   I was captivated,   I stood studying the painting for what seemed, to a 7 year old, like eons.   I fell intrigued.   Who was this beautiful man?   Why was anyone that beautiful, dead before being old and wrinkly?  

He became my first love.   He was a local Bristol boy,   I was a local Bristol girl.   Later I read Peter Ackroyd’s book ‘Chatterton’ and wondered whether his death was an accident or deliberate. I visit St. Mary’s Redcliffe  occassionally,   the place where Chatterton reportedly discovered the manuscripts on which he forged his texts.   He has remained young, beautful, and with my thoughts.  

From AElla

O! Synge untoe mie roundelaie,
O! droppe the brynie teare wythe mee,
Daunce ne moe atte hallie daie,
Lycke a reynynge ryver bee;

Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.

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door as social canvas

Saturday, August 25th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

The lines of this beautiful door obscured by a message that does not invite me to happiness,   to participate,   to come-in, to adventure.   The paint changes the door into a wall.   It made me sad.  

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car as social canvas

Friday, August 24th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

A basic coat of white covered with coloured dashes and squiggles overlayed with grafitti.   The car appeared to be inviting me to get a spraycan out and add my momento to its journey.   Mobile, socially accessible and constructed art.

Fabulous use  for a classic car of which I have very fond memories.

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Yellow Brick Road

Friday, January 20th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |
I’ve got this amazing picture on the big white thing in my Kitchen.
big  Bros. MADE it for me.   As a PRESSIE
you can borrow him, but
he’ll always be  
my Bros
 Yellow Brick Road
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Witty retort

Thursday, January 19th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Times when I wish I had a witty retort –

Man:  “you better watch out for tailgaiters,  you’re really easy to recognize from the back”

Wendy:  “it has its advantages”

He doesn’t yet know about my painting. Spooky!  I think I missed a good retort opportunity there…  …what should I have said?

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List Enthusiasts

Monday, January 2nd, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |
An American critic wrote that she would rather be forced to read the New York telephone directory three times than watch the film A Zed and Two Noughts, a third of which was a homage to Vermeer. Conceivably, if you are a list-enthusiast like me, the New York telephone directory might be fascinating, demographically, geographically, historically, typographically, cartographically; but I am sure no compliment was intended.”  
Peter Greenaway

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Louis Comfort Tiffany

Monday, December 26th, 2005 | tags: ,  |
After having visited the Seattle Art Museum’s Louis Tiffany exhibition the Wikepedia summary of his skills feels understated and accurate:  
"Tiffany was a painter and interior decorator and designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork."
He painted in oils and water colours,   he designed Jewelry,   wallpaper, balustrades and fire-gaurds.   His more famous work involves developing original glass production (Patents) and finishing techniques for windows,   vases and lamps.   What versatiale skills.   Such beautiful objects.   The  exhibit includes a window  produced for Mark Twain.   His influences include, a personal favourite, William Morris and  John Ruskin.   The UK Pre-Raphaelite ‘brothers’ designed many church stained glass windows.  
I highly recommend seeing this exhibition.    It’s definitely not all about glass and lamps.

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back handed compliment

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005 | tags:  |

is the title of this painting. Photographs showing paint coats attached below. The composition was inspired by a lover declaring how deeply he enjoyed watching my back as I walked away from him. This throws a whole new light on the phrase

glad to see the back of you’.

What do you think? Like it?

Should I give it to the ‘ex-lover’ for ‘ex-mass’ or hang it in the



front room

workplace office

back of the wardrobe


For painting I’ve learned that

  • I need lessons – I can’t work out how to ‘blend’ effectively, produce ‘smooth’ colour changes. Poor paint management.
  • skin tones are difficult to mix. Poor paint management.
  • details take more patience. Decisions like ‘oh that will do, its good enough’ are winning over planning and care in application.
  • My hand is woBbly WobBLy, wOBblY on colour boundaries even when resting my hand against a prop. Too much cheese, tea, beer and bouncing.

I’m going to use smaller canvas(‘s) to develop paint management skills while making Chrismas pressies!

W renaissance-womb’n-making-merry-mass-pressies

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MC Escher & Vermeer

Sunday, June 19th, 2005 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Stories from the Hague #2

The “Het Palais” is a museum dedicated to the life and work of MC Escher.   I happily spent hours looking at his wonderful prints, reading about his life,   looking at photographs he’d  taken of his inspirations,   objects he’d owned,   watching videos,   playing in the virtual reality and with the optical illusions.  I’ve always admised Escher’s work.  Being able to visit a museum dedicated to  him  was a real treat.

I learned that Escher had designed a version of “Metamorphose” for the Hague Post Office.  

A short walk from Het Palais is the “Maurithuis”.   Another compact palacial gallery.  The contents of this Gallery were exquisit: Rembrandt,   Ruebens, Van Dyjck, Vermeer,  Frans Hals and others I’ve forgotten how to spell.   As with Het Palais,   the Palais itself is a fabulous place worht visiting.    The paintings were awe inspiring.    As  a novice,   I paid particular attention to the brush storkes and techniques used.  

I thought that I would never see “girl with a pearl earing” in my lifetime.  I shed a little tear of joy.

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