Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sad to wake to the news this morning of the death of actor Richard Griffiths.  He leaves a great body of stage, film and television work behind as a testament to his talent.

The 1990s series Pie in the Sky was a particular favourite of mine. Here Griffiths (as policeman and restaurateur Henry Crabbe) worked alongside Maggie Steed (Margaret Crabbe) and Malcolm Sinclair (Assistant Chief Constable Freddy Fisher).

I was fortunate to see the three actors play together in Alan Bennett‘s The History Boys when the National Theatre stage production toured Australia in 2006 not to mention the entire ensemble cast.

Vale Richard Griffiths.

Pie in the Sky - radio times

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On a day when more adventurous projects didn’t quite come up to scratch, I decided I would play with some paint anyway and create a few gift tags.  On the way, I have learned (again) that less is more, taking it too seriously is not the best strategy and masking fluid is sometimes not your best friend.  And – having watercolours flow off a brush onto paper can be a beautiful thing.



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Last night was apparently a marvellous night for a full moon dance.  It rose within my line of sight from the kitchen and I couldn’t resist going out to capture some of the cloud movement around the light.

As a teetered on a garden seat to get the best shot, our resident night herons were sounding their departure ‘quoks’ to each other. Decision communicated, they disappeared quickly across the moon sky towards the bay.  In the dark, night herons are particularly camera shy.


I noticed the tendrils on the passionfruit vine this morning.  You can tell it was early in the morning as everything was still a bit blurry!

Notice how the new tendrils reach out, yet still have the need to hang on to something.


A year ago we were in Vancouver taking a crisp cold afternoon walk through the Lost Lagoon Wetland in Stanley Park.  A Great Blue Heron posed with a dignified (or perhaps cautious) stillness as I took a photograph.

A few weeks ago, I made this sketch from that photo. This morning, I was playing with FX Pro and decided that the heron looked quite fine in this Stencil Poster Blue effect.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society has information about these magnificently plumed birds and their nesting and migratory rituals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreat blue heron sketchBlue heron - Stanley Park - stencil poster blue

One of the joys of the internet is the number of people who put their work out there for us all to appreciate.  I first became aware of a particular network of sketchers via the book, The Art of Urban Sketching, which led me to the Urban Sketchers blog.

artofurbansketchingcover copy

One hundred invited artists contribute their sketches from over 30 countries in the world, drawing on location from direct observation. They are deliberately place-based drawings and depict works telling the story of where the artists live and travel.  You can also donate to the site to keep its work going.

The styles, techniques and media used are different for each of the artists. Since following the blog, I have a few favourites which I’ll post about in weeks to come. Wil Freeborn features in the latest book from the Urban Sketchers stable, An Illustrated Journey.

Wil Freeborn - Illustrated Journey



For people like me playing at sketching and wanting to get better at it, the work of Urban Sketchers contributor Wil Freeborn’s is aspirational.  This is his blog.

An Illustrated Journey is on my purchase list – another great illustrator meets place book.

Artisans in Edinburgh - Urban SketchersManna House Bakery - Wil Freeborn