Wednesday, February 27, 2013

and so it begins

Well I'm technically 'working' now ... started at the beginning of this week and am getting along okay - not wonderfully but okay.  It's work and I have a lot to be thankful for (I guess) ... in that I don't actually have to even get dressed in the morning (not that I will ever carry on like that) to 'go' to work ... I can sit in bed typing all day if I want to and the hours are completely flexible / bend around what I need to do in the day.  I hope that I can earn a reasonable amount of dosh, so that I will be able to go on extended safaris in the not too distant future to Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Glasgow ...

Lady of the house has just gone into Norwich for two sets of interviews, she was palpably nervous (not done this for a while has our Lady) but I know she will do fine and knock their socks off. 

I'm on my second painting, it's an ethereal thing - all light and airy - when it's finished I'll post a picture to the Abstract Art blog.  I like it so far.    The girlies in our household all think it's the best I've ever done!

I think Series 3 of Game of Thrones is released soon, looking forward to that.   It would also be nice if I could get my hands on the next books that follow on from Dance with Dragons ( i.e. The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring). One thing our George is not quick about and that's releasing the tomes in this series.   

Our ship left Durban a week or so ago and I think it's now somewhere off the West coast of Africa - hopefully not taking in water, or beset upon by pirates (aarrr).  

I bought little man a Batman costume yesterday from Tescos and he almost wet himself ... he didn't want to take it off when it was time for him to go to Nursery school this morning and I know the first thing he's going to do when he gets home is put it on again.  So cute.   To think he's nearly 4 - can't believe it. 

Watched Total Recall revisited with Colin Farrell in it on Monday night ... not as bad as I was lead to believe, quite enjoyed it.   

Anyway, have to get ready to go and fetch little man from Nursery school. Ta-ra

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hot Wired always feature thought-provoking articles for the layman - especially when it comes to astronomy.  Some of them aren't particularly accurate but they do make you ponder matters Cosmic on a Friday morning.
The series they've done on 3D Nebula images is quite beautiful - although I think a lot of artistic license was used in generating the gorgeous pictures, judge for yourself.

What I really liked though today, is a series of photos (Strange Nebulas and their Earthly Doppelgangers), showing natural objects alongisde their interstellar 'mirror image' ... as per the set of photos below (featuring the Bug/Butterfly Nebula in the centre image) - quite charming.

I'm pleased to say that I am the first in our household to have secured employment in Ye Olde England, something I wasn't expecting to have happened at all!  I'm quite chuffed with myself.   I am also lucky, in that  I can work from home - so that's an added bonus.    It's the same kind of work that I was doing in South Africa a couple of years ago (transcript typing) but much more formalised and intense - the earning potential is reasonably good (better than I would have been getting in SA as well).   I am going to start 'officially' on Monday - so that's cool.

It's just started snowing again ... light fluffy bits of dandruff blowing about all over the place - the kids are ecstatic.     My son (in South Africa) had a motor bike accident on Wednesday, which gave us all a helluva fright but at least he's okay - purple bruised feet, knees, arms, chest etc. but nothing broken. Thank Dog for that.

The ship with all our worldly possessions in it has finally left Durban harbour and last time I checked it was rounding the Cape of Good Hope  (courtesy of -bloody marvellous app that!)

Anyhoo, have a groovy weekend.  I think I am going to get stuck into the Red Label tonight, 'bout time I celebrated stuff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just jammin

A couple of movies that most probably will not live up to expectations are  Pacific Rim
and After Earth -   but I’m sure they will be 1 million times better than the tired, hackneyed and cheaply tatty thing that is SkyfallTo think, we almost bought a copy of this flick before watching it via Blinkbox last night.    The latest Bond franchise fails on so many levels ...
  • Daniel Craig looked bored, tatty (unshaven for most of the first part of it), run down and pissed off.  And oh, he POUTS so!   Makes me want to slap him through his little chin. 
  • If that front end digger scene on a train was the Director/Producer's idea of a spectacular opening Bond stunt, then they need to go back to the drawing board.  Dismal, boring.
  • The chicks.  What chicks?  There was the non-sexy Naomie Harris and the even less sexy Berenice Marlohe  with her mealie mouth and really strange make-up.  Are there no memorable Bond girls left?   How can the two lasses in Skyfall even remotely compare to Bond Girlies (old and new) like Halle Berry, Diana Rigg, Maud Adams, Eva Green, Famke Janssen ... the list is endless. 
  • The stunts ... oh my, Daniel runs around a bit.  He jumps off a bridge (yawn).  He dies.  He drinks scorpion moonshine.  Whoopy do.   Daniel stands and poses a lot.   Daniel stands and poses and pouts a lot too.  Fuck off Daniel Craig.  For Christ's sake bring back Pierce Brosnan ... (I can't stand him by the way) ... at least he can, sort of, act and looks manly, suave and classy.  
  • The cars ... shame on you!   Cars in Bond films are what we pay money to see.  This was the Recession version of a Bond movie, a recycler's wet dream.  We had to put up with the old Aston Martin and a couple of Mercs ... it was so SAD and drab and Bourgeois! 
  • The Special Effects ... again, that's what Q was put on this Earth for.  The producers/Directors/writers/Bond Budget Control Committee make some weak nod at economics and people who are scared of Sony, by making Q say that they don't use gadgets anymore, so all old Bond gets is a gun and wireless remote tracker ( a Walther PPK/S 9mm short pistol with embedded finger-print scanner and a tiny elementary radio tracker, for the purists amongst us).   Big freaking deal.      I have more gadgets in my bedside table than that.
  • Bad guy.   No. He. Was. Not.  My grandson can be scarier than him.  He was ridiculous.  They should have rather called in Mike Myers to reprise his Dr. Eveel routine, it would have at least given us a laugh.
  • Don't get me started on the soundtrack.

Throughout the movie, I kept hoping that Sean Connery would stroll into a scene and lend an air of class to the proceedings but not to be.  I waited patiently for Albert Finney to appear but why they even bothered putting in him that role (as the Gamekeeper of the Skyfall residence) beats me.  He was lost and wasted. 

Daniel Craig doesn't have even an ounce of a twitch of  Scottish in him, so how he even got cast as a person who was orphaned in Scotland doesn't gel with me one bit, not at all.

I say again.  You Producer/Director tossers should have gone with Rory McCann ... 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy (Belated) Sexy Day

Keep thinking about a music video on YouTube from Susanne Sundfør that I watched a while ago - it really upset me on a whole range of levels ... something I wasn't expecting. 

It looks like I might be getting somewhere on the job searching front but I don't want to give any tip offs in case I jinx it.  So when I have actually secured the work, I will post something about it here.
I'm looking forward to the weekend - got a whole load of painting to do.  My easel is grand!  I keep it in the corner of my bedroom, can't quite believe that I've got a 'real' easel, like professional artists use. 

The weather here in Long Stratton today is beautiful - sunny, blue skies, quite mild outside ... lovely day for going to the beach. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Scrap that

Oh joy ... the wonders of life.
I have stumbled upon a theme/set of images that I can use to help me with the first UK acrylic abstract painting project - something that will be meaningful for me (I hope) and that I can convey in the paint.
Whoopy doo!

White nothingness

Is there such a thing as Painter's Block? 
I have two completely ice white, blank canvasses; all shiny new, still wrapped in cellophane - one is perched on the easel in the corner of my bedroom, ready to have paint put on it; the other is propped up in corner. 
And then all sorts of stupid thoughts start coming into my head - what if I can't find the right subject and I mess up the canvas?   I've only got two canvasses but in my head there are a million pictures, which idea do I focus on, where to start?

I suddenly realised this morning, that i've been making excuses to myself not to start ... can't do anything just yet, until the easel arrives;  can't start just yet until the heavy gel medium arrives;   can't paint this morning until the rest of the acrylic paints arrive ... and on and on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Job searching

Finding work in Norfolk is easier said than done.   There are hundreds of job site portals these days - from (all over the world), jobs24,  Reed, jobrapido ... etc. etc.    and all of them feature the same jobs.   Most of the jobs are either a) scam jobs, i.e. getting people to phone them or send them CV's so that they can market products/services/training courses to the prospective job searcher or b) they are jobs advertised by recruiters that have been filled by local people already, or involve a battery of interviews, tests, assessments - again, to be told that they want you to take a course. 
The days of being able to apply direct to an employer have gone - instead you are forced to send your CV to a computer.  
Very frustrating.
My daughter has had two 'employers' phone her to come in for interviews in the past week.
The first one wouldn't say what the job was about at all, just that she had to come and see them for a 'presentation' ... we all know how that pans out.    Two hours later, they try and con you into buying a training course.
The second job interview that she secured for tomorrow at 4pm in the centre of Norwich (working for the UK's most respected fundraising organisation .... their words in italics)  is plain and simple - cold selling, knocking on doors, selling Oxfam etc. to people door-to-door.  Hours of work 3pm to 9.30pm Monday to Friday and no guaranteed basic salary, just some vague hourly rate that they deliberately undersell in the publicity / advertising blurbs.    In other word s- another non-job..

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I have consistently played at Art for most of my life and as an extension, never treated any of my work with seriousness.  All along, I've used whatever came to hand as a support for painting on, believing that I shouldn't spend real money on my equipment because I wasn't professional and didn't deserve to.   Well that attitude changed when I arrived in the UK and after I got a book from the library on Creative Abstract painting techniques.   I'm always on the look out for technique guidelines for acrylic abstract painting - believing all along, that I just didn't know enough and that my work was unsophisticated because of my imagined shortcomings in this department. 
Partially self-taught artists suffer this complex all the time.  

The book by Brian Ryder (a British artist, who stays in Norfolk and who I draw inspiration from) really opened up my eyes to several things - most importantly, that I have mastered all the techniques he describes in his book and did so many years ago.  Even more profound, as far as I am concerned, I have developed my own techniques, and these are completely unique to me.   I spent some time looking at digital representations of work that I've done in the past and all of the pieces have a common unity of style - I have a defined method I use for my work and it stays pretty much the same for each abstract that I do.   

I mulled over these thoughts after the paints, canvas and brushes arrived which I had ordered online a few weeks ago.  I decided that i didn't just want to prop the canvas up against a cupboard, wall or on a chair ... i realised, with a bit of a thud, that I needed to find something 'professional' and sturdy to work from and this meant an easel.  

I have worked on box/table easels and had two in South Africa but I only ever used these for small pieces and definitely not for abstract work.  Canvases I use for abstract painting are just too large.  So in South Africa, I always propped the canvasses up on chests of drawers, or on kitchen units, even on the floor.   One canvas I propped on two chairs.   I think this is one of the reasons why I never sold my big abstracts - even though they were eagerly taken by members of my family before I left SA and most of the really big ones now adorn the walls in my son's home.   I didn't treat the canvas with the respect it deserved before I started working on it. 
 So today, I bought an easel online, as well as a pallette, some heavy gel medium and more acrylic paints -

Hopefully, I can now start treating my work with some degree of seriousness and maybe sell a few works in the process!