Saturday, 29 May 2021

Hobbies A1 Treadle fret saw

When clearing out my fathers attic I came across a few parts of his old treadle saw. I recognised it instantly and very fond memories of watching him use it flooded my mind. I searched his loft space for the rest of the saw and was delighted to find every part. 

As a young boy I remember watching my father pedalling away as he skilfully turned the wood to cut out various shapes and patterns. Many a toy was made by him .... castles, garages, farms, dolls houses, jig saws, etc. Dad used to sit at this saw pedalling away for hours on end. 

Once I had the various parts of the saw back home I laid them out and tried to figure out how they all fitted together. It was a bit of a puzzle but I managed to assemble it. As expected, it was no longer in workable condition. 

So what to do with an old 1940's fret saw that doesn't work? Easy! I used wire-wool to remove the small bits of rust and polished it with a wax polish to restore it's shine and give it a protective coat. I fashioned a few new wooden components and gave them a varnish just to make it look complate and functional. Then ...

... I stood it in my garden. 

I'm well aware that over time the weather will take it's toll and the rust will eat it's way back into the metal, but in the meantime, every time I step into my garden I see it standing there and my mind races back to when I was a boy watching dad knocking together the next thing for me to play with.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

It's been a while

I can't believe it's been well over a year since I last posted. It's been a very different year for all of us, that's for sure. Though I've produced the odd picture here and there I've mainly been busy working around the house and garden and messing about with a few of my other hobbies. There have been several things I thought I might share with you but they haven't come under the heading of "Art", in fact, I have been thinking I might expand the scope of my blog to include none-arty stuff but haven't made a decision about that yet.

So why am I posting now? Recently I discovered a large number of my paintings and drawings being displayed on other web sites, and some of them actually being offered for sale. I was appalled and massively surprised by the number of "stolen" images I have out there. I decided to tackle the issue head on and have been having some good success and it occurs to me that anyone who posts their work online might well have the same problem. As a result I began a series of pages on my website explaining about Copyright Infringement, what can be done about it, and how I'm tackling the issue of having the offending images removed from the internet. I will be posting more on the subject soon but in the meantime, if you're concerned about your own work, visit my website.

a pen drawing of a vintage treadle saw

The drawing above is of a mid-20th century Hobbies A.1. Treadle Fret Saw that used to belong to my Dad. More about that in my next post.


Monday, 24 February 2020

Bridlington Lifeboat

Five years ago I attempted a drawing of the Flamborough Lifeboat based on a photograph by photographer Paul Berriff, with his kind permission. Paul also gave me permission to use two other photographs, one of the mfv Galatea in a Force Ten gale and a third one which is the subject of this blog post.

It's been quite a while since I last had time for any serious art and when an opportunity presented itself recently I felt I needed something dramatic and challenging to get my teeth into. To add to the 'challenge' I decided to post frequent work-in-progress posts both in my art forum and on Facebook. Confidence in my art has always been a big issue for me and there's no better way to challenge self-belief than show off your work before it's finished.

The subject is of the Bridlington Lifeboat heading out in gale force winds to the aid of a fishing boat. The entire picture has been drawn with a 2B pencil. I used my favourite Rotring Rapid Pro mechanical pencils, one with 0.5mm lead and the other with 0.7mm. I also used a regular 2B pencil for the sea so I could use the flat edge of the lead rather than the point. The paper is Daler Rowney Heavyweight 135lbs A3 size. For anyone interested, the various stages of the drawing can be seen in the Work-In-Progress section of my web site.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Rainbow Trout

The weather here is not very good today and the constant rain and gusty winds are keeping me indoors, yet again. I've decided to have a 'lazy' day today and spend the time in my Den-cum-Study-cum-Office-cum-Studio and get some art done.

It's been quite a while since I last painted anything using watercolours so I decided to dust off my brushes for the latest Painting Project in my art forum. I confess to struggling somewhat with the colours and tried to add multiple layers of paint which seemed to be the perfect way to create lots of green muddy gunk. As it happens, though the painting isn't as 'fresh' as I would have liked, the finished article doesn't actually look as bad as I thought it would.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Midhope Castle

A long time ago I purchased a book by Clive Holmes called "Northamptonshire: A portrait in Pen & Ink". The book is Clive's 'view' of the buildings in Northamptonshire as seen through his Pen & Ink drawings. I was a little interested in the local architecture and history of the county but much more interested in Clive's drawings. As a keen Pen & Ink fan I wanted to examine his technique and skills at my leisure.

Though most of his technique seemed fairly standard I noticed he rarely used hatching, as I do, so I was particularly interested in how he achieved his tonal values. One of the things that jumped out at me was his occasional use of 'dots' to achieve some of the mid-tones, especially where there was little texture to be drawn. I decided this was something I'd like to try some time.

The latest Monthly Painting & Drawing Project in my art forum is of Midhope Castle, commonly called 'Lallybroch', which is used in the 'Outlander' series. This gave me the perfect opportunity to 'go dotty' and play with this new technique. I have to say it is a very time consuming method of shading but varying dot density to achieve different tones was relatively simple. I'm not convinced yet that this approach is something I'll try again, but if I do it will be restricted to certain small area's within a drawing rather than the whole study. I'd love to hear what you think. ;-)

Thursday, 16 May 2019


Some time ago I was looking at my Gorilla drawing and quite liking the close-cropped tight composition and I decided I'd like to try another one. As I said in my Gorilla post I very much liked the intense blacks achievable with charcoal (as opposed to the greys of graphite) so I also fancied working in charcoal again.

Looking for a suitable subject I came across this Tiger. I briefly contemplated doing a black & white study but decided it wouldn't be the same without colour. The end result of my deliberations was to tackle a close-cropped Tiger portrait using pastels (Faber Castell Pastel Pencils to be precise). It's taken much longer to produce than I'd expected but I know more about pastels now than I did. LOL.  ;-)

Friday, 29 March 2019

Radiating Fog

First of all, just a brief update on why I haven't posted for over 6 months..... we've moved home. After 18-months of braving the roadwork-ridden motorway to travel 120 miles each way to see our granddaughter, we decided to move into the area. So the last 6 months have been crazy as we first threw everything we possessed into a few hundred (so it seemed) cardboard boxes, moving to our new home just 1 week before Xmas, and then unpacking and getting ourselves settled into a new way of life. We now live on the edge of the Pennines just north of Sheffield and it is hugely different from where we've come from.

Now to the drawing. From time to time I see an image or scene that I just know I have to try and draw regardless of how difficult or unappealing (hang-ability) it may be. I feel almost compelled to tackle it no matter how doubtful I may feel about the outcome. It happened to me again a while ago when I saw some online footage of Radiating Fog swirling around a church. Initially I dismissed the notion to try and draw the scene and didn't really have the time, but recently time has been easier to find and the urge to do the drawing was still as strong. It was good to finally have my pencils out again.