Saturday 26 October 2013

two Bristol paddle steamers

Medway Queen, a Thames estuary pleasure steamer and Dunkirk veteran, was floated out of dry dock in Bristol yesterday, and is waiting for favourable weather for the tow back to her home waters. Here she is, from the same viewpoint as that used by John Nash in the 1930s, when he painted P&A Campbells's paddle steamer Britannia, when he was in Bristol in company with Eric Ravilious, on which occasion Rav almost came to a sticky end...

"...when Eric had decided to go on drawing outside after dark, and was working intently on his picture of a paddle steamer, he had suddenly heard a grinding noise and a voice calling out, 'lucky for you I saw you, old cock, or you'd have been a box of cold meat.' Eric had set up his easel, without noticing it was on the tracks of one of those light railways that are used in the docks." (Helen Binyon)

round robin

Fresh from Minuteman Press comes another Christmas card! You can get it over in my Etsy shop, or if you're in Bristol, you can pick up or I can deliver....

They're blank inside. This is the poem I wrote that got me thinking of painting the round robin. Or was it the other way round?

Not slim
And far from win-
some, the round robin sings
In unmelodious tones of things familial;
Who passed what exam, did well at work, had chil-
dren of rare beauty; feathers puffed with pride; but still
Behind the seeming gasconading, someone strove
To keep the distant bonds, with time worn thin,
In place, that complicated love
That families have

(coincidentally, Lynne Truss read a series of thoughts on round robins, on the Radio 4 Today programme. A bit unkind, I thought; it's easy to poke fun at the gaucheries of family bulletins to get clever points, after all. I've always been happy to get family newsletters; these days they tend to be from people I like anyway, and even the bad ones I used to get were good for a laugh. Let us yet be merciful....)

Friday 25 October 2013

Uffington lark

uffington lark a4, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.

...whoops, accidentally posted this here from Flickr! -oh well, since it's here... Last picture for the anthology. All done now, and time to finish the editing and formatting. Thank goodness for Adobe InDesign, says I.

I like the effect in this picture; it's an ink drawing scanned and processed in Paint Shop Pro, except for the skylark which is a watercolour. I remember seeing the church tower in Uffington village, just like this, when I stopped on my way there a few weeks ago, as I was returning to Bristol from Oxfordshire. Though it was sunset on an autumn day, then. I got up onto the hilltop above the horse as the twilight deepened, and was alone with the soughing of the wind in the dried grass, and the call of the kestrels.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

gert macky

gert macky, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.

Here's the logo for Gert Macky Books, at least until something simpler comes along. I think the chap in the basket may be Brunel. Maybe the woman is Sarah Guppy, Bristolian pioneer of the modern suspension bridge.

I'm ploughing on with the pictures for Inking Bitterns, an anthology of wildlife poetry, to which some really rather good poets have contributed some really nice poems. More details on the poets in question later, though Deborah Harvey, Alana Farrell, John Terry, Liz Brownlee and Alan Summers are in there for sure.

Here are some redwings, on my drawing board at the moment.

It's getting quite exciting; it only occured to me a couple of weeks ago that the anthology might be a good idea, and now I'm trying to get it all done and published in good time for Christmas.

Sunday 13 October 2013

inking a bittern

bittern, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.

Another picture for the poetry anthology. I wanted to do a simple, slightly stylised reedbed. I've used inks for everything. Everything is outlined in India ink, because it is vividly black. I used dip pens because the lines respond more to pressure, as opposed to Rotring style pens which give a line of constant width.

The colour is Sennelier sepia and sienna, with a bit of India ink thrown in for the darker detailing. The ink's brighter than watercolour, but the wash is slightly uneven in places. Maybe I should have diluted it a bit more, and dampened the paper before laying down the ink.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

egret triolet

So white a bird, the egret sails
Serene above the Severn mud
That smirches us, but can't assail
So white a bird; the egret sails.
Our boots sink in; we flounder, flail.
We'd rise and follow, if we could,
So white a bird. The egret sails
Serene above the Severn mud.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Westbury primroses

Westbury primroses, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.
Here's a new picture. It's based on a rail trip I made from Southampton to Bristol one March day, having been at sea for some weeks. The landscape was rain-washed and a bit end-of-winter-y, but then I saw the primroses.

I'm collecting nature poems for a small illustrated anthology. Contributions or suggestions welcomed...