Monday, 25 April 2011

An arty aside...

I've been asked whether any of my artistic efforts from our recent holiday in Spain could go on the blog. With trepidation, I offer these...

Firstly, an olive tree, rendered with a bog-standard Pentel signwriting pen, on watercolour paper. When you wet the Pentel ink, it flows like watercolour.

As part of the course, we were asked to draw 'A Seat'. This is my effort. It's drawn in turquoise oil pastel, pretty much in one line, with a watercolor wash over:

In a more avant-garde moment, I tried to depict a towering palm tree, growing close to our room, using just a palette knife and acrylic paint. This took about 45 seconds to do and turned out far better than I'd hoped!

Finally, and thank you for your patience, an abstract triptych. This is a representation of a hill-top town called Salares. I took a photo from near the river, looking up into the town and was struck by how the glaring white walls and red roofs showed up against the uniform pale blue sky. The white is the paper, the sky is (I think) cerulean blue gouache and the roofs are cadmium red gouache.

This is the simplest of the images, yet it took the longest to create. The sketchbook page shows the labour pains...
Results notwithstanding, it was a great holiday. If you fancy it, it was Frances Winder's course based at the beautiful, idiosyncratic, hotel called Finca el Cerrillo - and it's already fully booked for next year!

Easter jaunts

What a beautiful day Easter Sunday was. Sunny, yet cool. Pete, Mrs HF's brother, was visiting so we went for a nice little leg-loosener run. 
On Saturday, we had spent 5 hours walking in the Howgills (gorgeous, massive, rounded hills, remarkably steep in parts), so our legs were a bit trashed. Hence we decided on a nice local route which went out flat along the River Kent and then turned hillwards and returned over some gently undulating farmland. Only 4.6 miles with 310ft of elevation gain, so nothing too strenuous, but it was surprisingly hard work.
The hawthorn blossom is at its finest just now; making the hedges great snowy swathes of delicate white. The fields are full lambs. Particularly cute are the Swaledales with their blotchy black faces and little black knees. They certainly make this time of year a special time to be out.
All in all, a pretty good Easter weekend's activity. Which will have to do for this week as I'm off to Munich first thing tomorrow for work and won't be able to get out until Friday. 
Smileyrating 8/10

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Good to be back

Just come back from a week in sunny Spain, where I've exercised nothing more than the creative side of my brain and wielded nothing heavier than a Prolene size 6 artist's paintbrush.
So, about half a kilogramme heavier than when I left, on Monday I set out on a gentle loop around Hayfella acres - and a gorgeous loop it was. It was only about 2.7 miles, but I put together sections of two different routes into one satisfying new route. Pleasantly undulating without being too heroic. Mostly off-road an sheep-cropped grass. Rather too many stiles and gates, but that's unavoidable. Every field full of cutesy lambs and watchful ewes (or 'yows' as they're called up here - you may have heard them called that on Lambing Live).  All in all a beautiful little run. 
Only marred by the fact that I think I may have re-tweaked the a*se muscle I pulled a while ago...
Smileyrating  9.5/10 (0.5 knocked off for the bum tweakage)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Retail excitement

Last night, on the way back from the pub, I peered through the windows of the new-look Pete Bland sports in Kendal. It was a hive of stocking-up activity. From what I could see, it's going to be fabulous. It was due to open yesterday, but wasn't quite ready - but any time now.

Slow run, quick post.

Headed east on the Dales Way on Sunday. 5 miles out, and 5 back. Legs and lungs were fine, but the route was, shall we say, tedious. After getting some fine views of the Howgills, the run descended into one where you're forever micro-navigating, trying to find Dales Way signs and heading blindly into enormous fields with only the compass to guide the way. Which was good for my navigation, but so frustrating. I longed to be out on the tops, following a fine ridge; instead I was splotching around quagmires trying to find the gate fastening. Grrr!
So the10.44 miles took me 2hrs 16mins (!) but I did go up and down 908ft, so it was a good training run in the blustery sunshine and showers.
Smileyrating (thanks Kate) 6/10