Sunday, 20 April 2014

More looming fruit....

I think one or two of my most die-hard and dogged readers paid heed to my pitiful whining last post and signed up to my Artfinder profile, for which I am profusely grateful.

The very lovely Katyboo knocked me over with a feather by writing an entire blog post about me (which feels all kinds of undeserved - it made my chin wobble and I ended up doing that double-handed face fanning thing while trying not to cry too much).  I was deeply touched.  She is a very kind and lovely person, and I'm very proud to call her my friend.

Sadly, we don't see that much of each other because we live a few hundred miles apart, although we have managed to coincide in That London a couple of times, and it was a shame that last week I actually found myself not too far away from Leicester (where she lives).  However, the circumstances were not really conducive to meeting up as TLH and I were driving up to Macclesfield in Cheshire to attend a family funeral, and it was a sad and stressful few days that didn't really lend itself to conviviality.

The death had been rather sudden - my mum's youngest sister (aged 62) had gone into hospital about 8 weeks ago suffering from heart palpitations.  Investigations showed shadows on her lungs.  Up until that time she'd (more or less) been fine.  The shadows were inoperable Stage IV lung cancer.  Six weeks later she was dead.  She hadn't even had time to start any chemotherapy.  It was so quick it was shocking.  But, on the other hand, it's better the inevitable end came quickly.

My mum is (was) the oldest of 5 siblings, one of whom lives in the Netherlands, the other in Canada, and they both managed to get to the UK to say goodbye before she died.  We've now got to the stage where we only see that side of the family at weddings and funerals, which is a shame, but is, I think, generally the way that families go these days.  It was really lovely to see my aunts and uncles, and some of my cousins, again but sad given the circumstances.

Anyway, we set off the day after the funeral and really just wanted to get home so even though it did cross my mind that I could've had a small detour to have a cuppa with our Katy, I just wanted to get back.

Still, the weather was lovely and I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful the countryside is around Knutsford, Macclesfield and Poynton.  And we managed to get in a visit to Jodrell Bank where my brother (who is a brilliant photographer) took some fab high-definition photos of the radio telescope:

And a really cool selfie in front of the infrared camera monitor they had there (I'm probably going to paint this as a portrait of him - look at the colours!!):

It was also lovely to get to spend some one-on-one time with him, as I don't get to see him often enough, and when I do, it's invariably with loads of small (and not so small) kids knocking around, demanding his attention (well, he is their dad, after all).  So to be able to spend two entire evenings with him, laughing like loons and knocking back the vino without interruption was a real treat.

But I seem to have sidetracked - I've finished another painting!  I'm really pleased with how this one has come out.  It's another in my 'Looming Fruit' series (I'm sure there's a joke about Fruit of the Loom in there somewhere...) and has more than a touch of the Dutch Old Masters about it.

As usual, I took a few photos as it was progressing - weirdly, seeing a photo of the painting as it's going along helps me to 'see' it better, and spot what's going wrong or what needs doing next.

Anyway, this painting was of three apples, set slightly off-centre.  The lighting is very strong and the background is pitch black, so it's very dramatic, and this is how it progressed:

The bottom photo is the finished version but the colours of the apples look a bit washed out - the real colours are more like the penultimate one.

I'll probably be putting this one up on Artfinder too but at the moment I'm rather enjoying looking at it in my sitting room!

I've started my next painting already - cherries tumbling from a pail - which is slowly coming together, and I've got another three, no, four, paintings planned, not to mention the Russian icons paintings I'm thinking about (have I told you about those?  Can't remember...) so I'm going to be pretty busy.

Plus it's my forty-eleventh birthday this coming Wednesday, and TLH and I are off to London on Thursday to take in the British Museum's current exhibition on Vikings, followed by a trip to the theatre to see Jeeves and Wooster starring Robert Webb and the utterly brilliant Mark Heap.  I've promised Katyboo I'll tell you all about about it!

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