Tag Archives: sketchbook

‘No colour will ever be brighter for me than black and white.’ Allessandro Del Piero.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines colour as ‘the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light’.

The human eye can only see light within specific wavelengths so, by this definition, colour is the range of visible light that humans can actually see.  For us, the visible spectrum begins with the wavelengths we call violet.  This then moves on to blue, green, yellow, orange, and ends with what we call red.  The trouble with this approach is that there are some very noticeable exceptionslike black and white. In science black and white are not considered colours because they do not have specific wavelengths. White light contains all wavelengths of visible light while black is the absence of visible light.

But you know what?  That doesn’t really work for me.  I need to see black and white as colours because, in spite of my love of all the other colours of the rainbow, my day-to-day life is a vision in monochrome.

My home decor is mostly black and white.  I admit  there are a few (quite a few actually) vibrant pops of colour here and there, but the fact remainsI have white walls, white cupboards, black lounge, black chairs, black and white rugs, black and white prints and black and white quilts and pillows.  (All serving to beautifully accentuate all those other lovely colours I might add).

I also have three little dogs, two black-and-white, and one all black.  Now, I hasten to add that I absolutely did not choose these little dogs so they would match my furniture.  That was more of a happy accident . . .

Many of my clothes are black and whitejust because I really like wearing black and white It works in any season, it’s easy to mix and match (and add to—no more vacillating about whether it is quite the right shade when buying something new for my already far too substantial wardrobe) and I can also easily pep it up with any other colour on a whim (fuschia pink shoes!!) while still looking tidy and presentable when out and about in the world.

(Wearing mostly black and white is also exceedingly helpful when you are the owner of aforesaid three hairy (and prone to frequent shedding) little dogs.  The ever-constant dog-hairs on my clothes are at least evenly distributed . . . )

So, scientific or not, I think I need to continue to see black and white as colours—otherwise I might be forced to rethink my whole take on my world and everything in it.

I’m not sure I’m entirely ready for that . . .

Just as well Mabel had her red collar on or she might have gone completely unnoticed on the black and white quilt.


Posted by on March 9, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.’ Katrina Mayer.

Even after being back sketching for a couple of years now I find I still don’t do much drawing ‘out-of-doors’.  I always manage to find some excuse ( . . . it’s too hot . . . or too cold . . . or there are too many people about . . . or OMG the sandflies!! I dither and dather and although sometimes I do get as far as packing up all my kit and getting myself to the front door, more often than not it’s . . .  ‘I don’t know . . . perhaps I won’t do that today . . .  maybe I’ll go tomorrow instead . . .’   It’s definitely an issue for me and one I haven’t quite got my head around yet.

So now, before you get all excited and think that I must have actually talked myself into venturing out into the big wide world to complete the sketch below—nope, I copied it from a photograph (I wanted to see if I could replicate some of the detail in the undergrowth)—but I was thinking about going outside to sketch a real tree, so I reckon that’s a step in the right direction . . . isn’t it?

Anyway, now that we are on the subject of trees it seems like a good time to share something I came across recently called the Baum test—also known as the ‘tree’ test.  Apparently this test can be used to represent a person’s personality traits (similar to handwriting analysis).  Basically, all you need to do is draw a treenot copy a tree as I didbut actually draw a tree from your own imagination.  The idea is to draw quickly and without thinking too much and to include (or not, whatever you prefer) the roots, the trunk, branches, leaves, fruits, flowers, etc.

Then comes the psychology bit.

According to the supreme beings who know these things—if you drew a tree with strong deep roots you are probably a pragmatic and rational person.  If you drew shallow roots (or none at all) you are more likely to be quite timid or uncertain in life. The trunk usually symbolizes your personality.  If your tree has a large thick trunk, you are more likely to be outspoken, emotional and possess great inner strength.  If the trunk of your tree is small or broken it suggests you are rather fragile or withdrawn.  Thick branches suggest a communicative personality.  No branches or very small branches indicate an inability or reluctance to communicate with others.  Drawing leaves and flowers show your attempts to achieve success (or perhaps lack thereof??)

So there you go.  Why don’t you give it a go yourself?  I’d be interested to hear about your results (although I guess now you’ve already read the possible analyses your final creations could possibly be somewhat compromised.  Hmmmm—I didn’t really think that through . . . )   Anyway, I admit I haven’t actually tried the Baum test myself yet.  For a start I don’t draw quickly (ever), so given that, and my propensity for detail, if I start right now I’ll probably be just about finishing my own imaginary tree sketch some time next week . . .

Now, I wonder what the psychologists would have to say about that!


Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.’ Carl Sandburg.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

Fighting spouses, other people’s children running all over your front garden, loud music lovers, screaming mothers, people who let their pets run wild, late-night partiers, someone who trims all the boundary trees and hedges—and throws all the debris into your yard . . .   Does any of that sound familiar?  Anyone who has lived next to nasty neighbours will know how stressful and unpleasant it can be—and how it can be enough to drive even the sanest and most peaceful person to the brink . . .

Happily, I have been very lucky with my neighbours over the years.  Although there have been one or two I was not overly sorry to see the back of, for the most part all my neigbours have been friendly and supportive, kept their children and animals under control, their domestic affairs to themselves and only gone slightly overboard on the noise levels on high-days and holidays—which, quite frankly, is fair enough.

Consequently I have had very little to complain about . . . and I would hope that any of my neighbours, if asked, would be able to say the same of me.

Even so, no matter how friendly with, or fond of, my neighbours I am I can’t really see how a good sturdy fence between us can do much harm.   Just to be on the safe side, you understand . . .


Posted by on February 16, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘Time flies like an arrow—but fruit flies like a banana.’ Terry Wogan.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I’ve never really been that much of a fan of eating fresh fruit (except maybe berries—I do love berries) but I have always eaten it, even when I didn’t particularly want to, because I was told it was good for me.  It seemed entirely the wrong thing to say that I always preferred a good slice of apple pie (or apple crumble) to just eating a plain old apple  . . . and I would have much preferred a great big fat slice of banana bread to just any old banana . . .

Since last October I have been following a low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle and that has also meant eating little to no fruit (and especially not in pies or crumbles) although I have still managed to sneak in a few strawberries underneath my dollop cream!   But you know what?  I haven’t missed it.  At all.  (I have probably just alienated every fruit-growing person on the planet, but there you go.  I am sure there are still enough people out there devouring the world’s fruits in such quantities that my no longer partaking will hardly be missed.)

Having said all that, no longer eating fruit does not make me totally immune to its charms.  The myriad colours, textures and shapes are all pretty fabulous . . . and a lot of fun to sketch . . .

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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘If our mushrooms make you hallucinate, please inform us immediately so we can overcharge you.’ Scott Adams.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I would never describe myself as a mushroom aficianado (although, for some inexplicable reason, I do seem to think the word ‘fungi’ is a pretty cool word . . . )

In fact, now that I think about it, I know very little about the different types of mushrooms at all.  I rarely cook with them (well, of course if you have followed my blog for any length of time you will know that I rarely ‘cook’ anything at all) but my interest was piqued recently when I read an article that stated that the species of mushrooms we do know about is probably only a third to a fifth of what is actually out there still waiting to be discovered.  That’s an awful lot of undiscovered mushrooms!

Apart from being an interesting tidbit, this snippet of information would normally have little impact on my life (still not planning on doing much cooking) . . . . except that alongside that article were photos of some of the most spectacular looking growths of fungi (such a cool word!) I have ever seen.

Suffice to say that, although I may not be enticed to do much cooking with them in the future, they may just be well on their way to becoming one of my new favourite things to draw . . .

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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Uncategorized


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‘What do monkeys sing at Christmas? Jungle Bells, Jungle Bells . . . ‘

To all my family, friends and fellow bloggers –

A Very Merry Christmas to you all!  Hope you all have a fabulous day.  Eat, drink and be merry!

Sally, Mabel, Maude and Molly . . .
(and Maudie’s new Christmas monkey . . . )


Posted by on December 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


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‘No water, no life. No blue, no green.’ Sylvia Earle.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

No words either.  Just another sketch . . .


Posted by on December 5, 2017 in Uncategorized


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