Painted heart


I’ve long had a couple of paintings hanging in the stairwell outside our apartment, mainly because I didn’t like them. In fact, I disliked them so much I found I hadn’t even posted the original on this blog.

Unfortunately hanging them by the front door just meant they were the first paintings anyone saw when they came to visit, and they annoyed me whenever I came up the stairs. Last week I decided I couldn’t take it any more, took both paintings down and painted over them with new designs.

The pattern is an updated version of this one. Being a Luddite, I even used a bowl as a template again, despite having a high-tech compass from my deys as a carpentry apprentice.

Japan 6: Farmhouse


Farmhouse in the mountains. Aesthetically pleasing building contrasting nicely with ugly power mast.

Power masts like this are very common: once out of the touristy cities like Tokyo, the country is very different.


Bowled Over: 1

Woodcarving lessons are almost over. The main project is making a bowl from pear wood:

Stage one was making the inside of the bowl, which also involved working out what shape I wanted it to be. Here’s the basic shape rough carved:

Carved bowl 002

Then finished using finer chisels and then sanding to get most of the mistakes, imperfections out:

Carved bowl 003

My teacher, taking the subtle approach to rough forming the outside of the bowl:

Carved bowl 004

…which left us with something vaguely reminiscent of the Millenium Falcon.

Carved bowl 005

I’d hoped to have a complete bowl to finish this post with but I went and split the wood at a crucial stage yesterday so the ‘bowl’ is currently heavily clamped while the repair sets.

Such is life.

(Apologies to readers of my other blog for the duplicate posting)

Wild Goose 2

I’ve actually painted a Celtic styled design this week. I know: I can’t get over the excitement either.


This design  was destined to hang in our fairly small hallway opposite the original wild goose, so I wanted a simple, modern look with colours that complemented the other design: anything else would be overpowering.

The final piece is 600mm x 500mm. If you’re wondering why I used a canvas this large, it’s because its main purpose is to cover the fuse box door, something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved in here five years ago.

As I have observed before, I’m not that fast when it comes to painting…

Japan 5: gate


Castle gate, Japan. over the massive doors, those slits are for archers to fire at people coming into the castle, which I suppose is one way to make sure people pay the entrance fee.

Notice traditional disabled access ramp for mobility impaired ninjas.

Birlinn Bay


In theory, the absence of Beautiful Wife and family means I can draw and paint more, at least untill I start the new job in September. In practice I’m not much faster because their presence or absence has no effect on how many mistakes I make and have to go back and correct.

However, I have finally managed to complete this pair of paintings of a Birlinn, a wooden vessel used as a form of transport between the islands off the west coast of Scotland until quite recently. Wikipedia has a page on them here.

I’m pretty pleased with the picture so far: the sky worked well, and the planking came out better than I thought it would, but there’s still something missing: it’s… boring.

I can see that the rock the boat is moored to is a bit too convenient on its own, so a few extras will pop up in time, and possibly be joined by a proper tide line; but I feel there needs to be more life, especially around the boat.

Any suggestions as to what is missing welcome…

Japan 4: Railway


Railway crossing somewhere in the back streets of Ise, Japan. The alarms on Japanese railway crossings are one of my favourite sounds of Japan, sort of half way between a siren and a slightly cracked bell.

I guess I like them for the memory the sounds bring rather than the melodious tone…