Friday, 2 November 2012

OAP on Board!!


Last Sunday was my 65th Birthday. Yippee .... I once again have a source of income. When I retired early last April I was unable to start collecting my retirement pension so I've been one of the countries 2.53million unemployed, and technically NOT a pensioner. Well now I am, and after 46 years continuous employment during which my longest absence was 2 weeks a few years ago following surgery on my shoulder, I am very proud of my long and conscientious work record. I've never ever taken a 'sickie' ... not one. Hey, you've all seen those car stickers that say "Child on board", well my daughter sent me one that says "OAP on board" ... I love it!!! She has a great sense of humour and also sent me a T-shirt with the words  "I don't want to .... I don't have to ... You can't make me ... I'm retired".

I had lots of great presents and as a special treat my wife booked us into a converted barn on a farm in the Cotswolds, near Broadway. Though I was away on holiday, I didn't spend a huge amount of time painting/drawing as we went out everyday to see places of interest, and when we arrived back at the 'barn' we were staying in, I used the time to catch up with a bit of reading and watching some DVD's I'd received as presents. Still, I did manage a little art, and I'd like to share it with you.

One of my presents was a small set of Faber-Castell PITT artist pens containing Sepia ink. I was keen to try them so sketched a collection of pots and containers sitting beneath one of the windows. Pen & Wash is one of my favourite mediums and I haven't held a brush for quite a while, so it felt really good once I'd finished the sketching and started to apply some colour. It really wouldn't have mattered how this one turned out as I was just enjoying the process to the max, but as it happens, it turned out quite well and I'm really, really happy with it.

On Monday we went to Tewkesbury. I had heard tell of "the hidden charms along narrow alleyways where the eaves of crooked timber buildings nearly touch". I had visions of streets like the famous "Shambles" in York. Disappointingly, the claims are either grossly exaggerated or we failed to find them. But we did find the famous Abbey only for it to start raining just as we pulled into the Car Park. As we sat in the car waiting for the rain to finish, which it didn't, I did this sketch in my Moleskine. The ex-accountant in me won't let me discard my Moleskine until it's full, but I may have to give in and toss it ... I really can't get on with it.

Tuesday found us visiting the nearby village of Broadway and the famous Broadway Tower that sits high on the surrounding hills. The tower is an odd shape having an hexagonal core flanked by 3 cylindrical towers (yeh, I know, I've only draw two - lol). I took lots of photo's from the top of the tower and was amazed to discover that, on a clear day, some 16 different counties can be seen over a distance of 62 miles. I started the sketch standing in the field at the tower but finished it later back at 'the barn'. I found the Moleskine resisted my every attempt to achieve a smooth graduation of tones and it was hard to get the graphite to take once a couple of good layers had been laid.

Another pressie was an Introductory set of 10 tubes of Windsor & Newton Designers Gouache and I'm waiting until I am able to have a long and uninterrupted session before opening them.

With some DIY tools, a set of Olympic stamps for my collection and a bottle of my favourite Talisker Whisky, I've been very well treated and consider myself very, very fortunate. What's more, I can now apply for my free bus pass. lol.




20 comments:

  1. John. Love your post and sketches especially the ink and wash one. Hope it's getting framed. Lots of memories for me here: Cotswolds and Tewkesbury. We didn't find the 'hidden charms' either but it was quaint. Glad to hear I'm not the only one that doesn't like moleskin pads. Sepia ink... lovely stuff but I use it to create texture and deeper tone in my paintings.
    Most important John: Happy Belated Greetings for your 65th and enjoy your retirement 'officially' now... Take care. xx

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    1. Thank you very Laura. Yes, the Pen & Wash will be getting framed. I'm relieved to hear that you're experience of Tewkesbury was the same as ours. Not just us then after all. Thank you for the Birthday greetings ... I didn't mention it before because I don't like to advertise on the 'net when my house will be empty. ;)

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  2. All the things you don't HAVE TO or don't WANT TO give you a lot of freedom LOL ! But sometimes when we don't INTEND to we do some amazing work like your sketches here, the top one with the window and pots is gorgeous ! Happy Birthday my friend !

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    1. That T-shirt makes me sound as if I'm having a tantrum. LOL. But you're right that some of our best work can happen when we aren't really trying. Thank you very much Jane.

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  3. Congratulations John. Whether you're painting, putting up shelves, cataloguing stamps, or just enjoying a quiet dram, I hope you enjoy your official retirement.

    The pen and wash piece is superb and hints at great things to come.

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    1. Thank you very much Keith. Home DIY never really ends but I've ticked a lot of major boxes this summer and the largest jobs are now behind me. I'm looking forward to a much more relaxed time going forwards .... and many more drams too. ;)

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  4. Congratulations and happy birthday! I have many different kinds of unfilled pads...now I just take my favorite papers in a large cardboard envelope! However, you did a marvelous job on these. I especially like the sepia ink drawing. Enjoy the freedom!

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    1. LOL ... makes it sound as if I've just got out of jail. I may well start by burning the Moleskine ... lol. Thank you very much Trudy.

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  5. Congratulations and happy birthday!

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  6. Many congratulations, John. Great to see you relaxing and making the most of your well-earned retirement. Lovely sketches, especially the pen and wash!

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    1. Thank you Michael ... nice to see you. ;)

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  7. Late but from the heart: happy birthday, John! Great sketches!

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  8. Happy belated birthday, old timer! Sounds like you had a good break. There are those Roman Baths and Snowshill Manor in that neck of the woods. When we were at Brize Norton, that was our haunting ground!

    I have just discovered those PITT pens too - just the black ones! great minds!!

    It sounds as if you've earned you pension, John - now enjoy it!

    Love your drawings, John. Life can be fun can't it? It shows in your work.

    Cheers

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    1. Thanks very much John. I haven't had chance to do much with the PITT pens yet but I think I'm going to enjoy the Broad one and the way it gives a line of varying widths depending on pressure. Could be good fun.
      All the best.

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  9. belated happy b'day ...enjoy all your new art materials ..lovely sketches ....like your "cityscape" above !

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  10. Very belated Happy Birthday and "official" retirement John.

    Love the sketches. I hated my moleskin but finished it eventually.

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    1. Thanks Sue.

      Yes, I remember you saying that you didn't like your Moleskine ... just after I'd bought mine. ;)

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