Friday 28 November 2014

50 Shades of Grey.

No celebration of Black Friday here.  I am not shuffling along with hordes of germ riddled shoppers fighting in lumps in over heated, overcrowded shops.

First I went where there were no crowds, hopefully no germs, to my framers.  

Not only do I get a cup of coffee but words of wisdom.....

Two lighthouses to mount plus the penguin.

 Rattray Head Lighthouse at dawn - appropriately from a photo by the Dawn Patroller.

The words of wisdom led to the lighthouse being moved to the right a bit more .  Apparently there is some sort of mathematic equation one applies to draw the viewers eye in.
Well as soon as anyone mentions mathematics my brain shuts down.  So I cannot remember what it is called.  It may well be to do with thirds...... There were a lot of hand waving during this lesson.  So I just said, "Get on with it."

Not a lot of possibilities to apply the mathematical theorem to this one, so it will remain in the middle.

After a visit to my favourite place after the shed.

 Preliminary sketch of..... from the best seat in the cafe at Kinnaird Head.

I returned home through 50 shades of grey.

At 2.15p.m. this was the sky.  

 It has been like this for two days now.  From dawn til dusk.  We still have not had a frost. Hence the multitude of bugs and viruses,  unseasonably warm.  

Good job I have a daylight bulb in the shedudio as otherwise I would not be able to draw or paint.

Fortunately my hairdresser has the solution for 50 shades of grey.


Cut it off.


Wednesday 26 November 2014

John Lewis has not cornered the market on penguins.

Not being a fan of performing animals I did prefer the alternative John Lewis advert. But knowing some of my readers are possibly a bit prudish I chose not to share it here.

However the penguin is having an effect in other areas.

I received a commission to paint a penguin.

There are no penguins, to my knowledge in Buchan.

However the Dawn Patroller on one of his jaunts was at Edinburgh Zoo.

So here is my Penguin.

Which sold within seconds.

Perhaps I should do some more.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Santa on his way.

The Lighthouse Museum's third Primary age child Christmas Card Competition.

We received over a 170 entries.  Above is Chairman of the board's wife selecting a winner.


Here it is.

The DP has made the image to fit on cards and I made the cards.  Now on sale in the Gift Shop.

I also had the pleasant task of presenting the prizes to our winner.

 A Family Ticket for the museum, a hoodie with the lighthouse emblem on. a book about lighthouses, a poetry book on lighthouses, and a bag for life to put everything in.  Oh and her card being the official lighthouse card for 2014.

Comes to something when a primary school pupil is as tall as I am.  


Wednesday 19 November 2014

This could bore you.....

Lighthouses.  As you may well know they fascinate me.  Still have not got to the bottom of exactly why.  I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, quite a way from the sea.  In fact holidays as a child, to get to the sea, took some considerable time, in a car that looked like this.

 No, we were not rich.  My Dad had a garage.  Repairing cars.  He probably borrowed one in for repair to give it a test run.

I remember holidays to Butlins.  Hunstanton, Norfolk, and Withernsea.

My first sighting of a lighthouse.  In the middle of the town of Withernsea.  Didnt take much notice of it.  I think I thought it was just an over the top street light.  In fact I still do not understand what it does/did there, must google it.

I lived in Cornwall in the late 60s and came across a real lighthouse.  Lizard Point.

Every time I visited it was foggy.  The sound of the foghorn was quite magical.  But I was then more interested in if it had a tea room.

(All the above images I took from google, so apologies for not naming individual photographers. Tres difficile to obtain. For me anyway.)

So here we are, many years later, and I discover lighthouses big time.  

I am interested.  I learn about them.  The people who worked them, their families.  I find out how they were built, and by whom.  

Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh is now a big part of my life.

Built for the Fraser family, this fine 16th century castle was altered in 1787 to take the first lighthouse built by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses.
Historic Scotland.

Since taking up art in 2011 I have on occasions attempted to depict 'my lighthouse'.  Perspective not being one of my talents I gave up. Lighthouses do have a slight slant I believe but not quite as much as I drew.  But then, recently, decided I was going to DO it.  

Challenged to do some pen and ink which would then feature on cards to raise funds to keep the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses going.  I had another go.

 Through the Keepers Cottage window.

 These bouys had a light/beacon.  There are quite a few of these around the Museum grounds.

Through the Keepers garden door.

 One of the few occasions the Lighthouse is lit.  This was the Queens Silver Jubilee. ( There is a more modern boring looking effort that is nearer the shore that works all the time.)

Different views of.  Done.  All the photographs were taken by the Dawn Patroller.  I then did the pen and ink/ colour wash painting.

I sat on my laurels so to speak.  THEN I received another challenge.

Next year the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses celebrates being 20 years old.  Within the Museum are so many lenses, lights, screws, dinner services, pictures, artefacts etc. etc. from all the now unmanned and electrified lighthouses..... 

As the Stevenson Family were involved in building, designing, engineering - Jill, 20 paintings of Stevenson Lighthouses.

I might just go off Lighthouses big time.

Ooooh.  Rattray Head , Boddam, just down the road............... 

Told you I could bore you.


Friday 14 November 2014


£15,005 raised!! Not bad for two nights work eh?!!
Thank you so much to all of the artists who so generously gave their work; to all of my Wood Group colleagues who so generously gave their time, energy and commitment; to The Archie Foundation for their patience and never ending encouragement; to those at Inspire and Sodexho who so generously gave their time and services free of charge; and thank you to all of you who came to Archie's Art and made it the great event that it was!!

 Photos by Rae Osborn and via Marie Buchan.

Thursday 13 November 2014


ARCHIE's Art will raise funds for The ARCHIE Foundation’s appeal to make Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital ‘a world-class hospital for today and tomorrow’s sick children’.
ARCHIE’s Art takes place on November 12 and 13 at Wood Group’s Trafalgar House, Hareness Road, Altens, beginning at 6.30pm.

Wood Group employees have organised the event as part of their pledge to support The ARCHIE Foundation’s High 10 for Archie campaign, which sets out to raise £1 million to transform the ten key steps of a child's journey through the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.

Wood Group is proud to host ARCHIE's Art - an exhibition showcasing artists from throughout the North and North East of Scotland and the Western Isles.

Well folks, one of those artists was me.  Most of the artists were Artists capital A. Professional.  I gulped at some of the price tags.  Which had 3 noughts at the end.....


As is my wont I let the cultural side down. Do I care?

As the great and good of the art world, and purchasers of !  gathered to view.  Sip their white fizz and indulge in the canapes, and have a good laugh at some of the work on show

Being forewarned that there was no red wine, I brought my own.

Chariot is ace for concealing bottles.  And no, the man to my left is not challenging me on smuggling it in.  I was quite honest about my nefarious activities.  I draw the line at bringing my own glass so explained my need of same to (very efficient and discreet waiting on staff.)  (The DP had asked if I would like a box of red strapped on to the chariot.  Perhaps next time.)

Should explain my expression.  This is my usual expression when the DP takes my photo, as he never says 'Smile' just presses the b****y button when I am not ready.

Just to prove it, here is another.  

Hope the local rag got a better one.  At least he said, "Look at me, ready, right."

As you will have seen from the blurb at the top the exhibition/raising funds is on for 2 nights.  One night was enough for me.  It took us almost 2 hours to get from where we live to Aberdeen.  30 plus miles.  I thought they must have evacuated Peterhead.  One expected nose to tail coming out of Aberdeen it being the going home time.  What I hadnt expected was the nose to tail from Peterhead going the same way as us.  No, I wasnt driving!

Now the best bit.

SOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   50% of the sale price to Archies.

So I am celebrating tonight, glass of red of course.

Monday 10 November 2014


458 years ago today the Edward Bonaventure was wrecked near to where now is Kinnaird Head Lighthouse.

Chancelour*  sailed the Edward Bonaventure to Archangelsk, and gained an audience with the Russian tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) in Moscow, obtaining a trade agreement for a return visit by four vessels, which sailed for London in 1556. Amongst the cargo carried by the Edward Bonaventure, there were many fine furs and exotic animals for Queen Mary Tudor of England. Also on board, was Osep Gregorovitch Napea, the first Russian ambassador to England.
On 10 November 1556, the Edward Bonaventure was attempting to ride out a Northerly gale in Pitsligo Bay when she was driven ashore. Chancelour and about a hundred others were drowned, but the ambassador was one of the few survivors. Flotsam from the vessel included much of the cargo and many of the presents intended for Mary Tudor. The ambassador reported that the local population stole these and other items of value from the wreck, complaining to the Scottish Crown. This proved politically embarrassing, causing Mary Queen of Scots to attempt to recover the stolen property. Royal Commissioners were sent to Pitsligo but recovered none of the ambassador’s belongings.

*Chancelour was the leader of this and previous expeditions. Mostly disastrous. To read more go to canmore.

It rather tickled my sense of humour that the Lairds around denied all knowledge of the treasure.  But soon after undertook massive rebuilding of their castles!  

 So the pirate of then would not have looked like the above at all.

More likely

Ho ho ho.

Saturday 8 November 2014

Looking around.


Every so often the sea throws up something really interesting.

On Fraserburgh beach.  A boat wreck.  Wonder how long that has been there.  It has wooden nails, according to the DP.

31 August 1875 LOSS

Notes Fraserburgh, 31st Aug., During the terrible gale from the NNW today the services of the lifeboat of the National Institution on this station have been three times called into requisition, and she has been instrumental in saving the lives of twelve seamen. At about 10 o'clock a smack lying in the bay was observed to be flying a flag of distress, whereupon the lifeboat put out and rescued the crew of three men. Scarcely had she regained the harbour when a Banffshire boat, prosecuting the fishing in Fraserburgh bay, was upset by a heavy sea. Fortunately the lifeboat was able to reach the wreck in a few moments, and the whole crew, consisting of five men, were saved. But for this providential escape they must have all perished, as no other vessel could venture from the harbour. At about 1 p.m., a Norwegian smack showed a distress signal, when the lifeboat again proceeded to sea, reached the vessel, took the crew of four men on board, and landed them safely in the harbour. The smack will probably drift from her anchor and become a total wreck on the beach. While this telegram is being despatched another fishing boat is approaching the harbour in great [Record received incomplete].
NMRS, MS/829/70 (no. 4221).

Could be one of the above.  What struck me was how brave and still are our Lifeboat Men and Women.

Back here in the shedudio.

Ok it is an old photo.

I am on a roll with painting, penning, a series of pictures of Kinnaird Head Lighthouse.  These are then transformed into cards and will be for sale at the Lighthouse Museum.

I am trying to portray it from unusual viewpoints.

The above is through the Keepers Cottage Garden gate.  This one is finished.

The one below is just started, the sky was in reality much darker, as its the light lit on the Queens Silver Jubilee.  So a way to go.


I have also been asked to do the same with all the lighthouses built by the Stevensons in Scotland.   No pressure there then.  Also totally out of my comfort zone - but hey I am enjoying myself.  Actually thought it was Sunday today. .......

Be some looking around.......

Monday 3 November 2014


4p.m.. I just got back from the Lighthouse Museum and it really hit this is now post clocks back and I have now very few daylight hours in which to draw and paint.

Sunset will become even earlier in the coming days.

Although we are still experiencing unseasonal high temperatures once 3p.m. is past its colder.

 Around 5p.m. the central oil fired heating comes on, also heats the water.  We eat at 6p.m. ish, then the stove is lit and off goes the liquid gold.  Not long before the woodburner  heats the whole house, well the bit we live in.

I should own up to having a fan heater in the shedudio. I did try a convector but the shedudio is quite large and a blast from a fan heater works better, plus once its got the space up to the required temperature it switches off so I am hoping it wont be too expensive, but to be honest I dont care that much so long as I am comfortable.  

The DP and I have struggled financially all our lives, 4 kids under 5 led to them all being at university at almost the same time, and many of you will know how much that can cost.  I have lost count of the flat deposits we have paid and never seen again, bloody landlords. 

At last the girls are all launched and apart from the occasional propping up financially what we get from our pensions is ours.

We both still appreciate that there is so much in life which does not cost a penny.


November, and for the whole of the winter months, this is the spectacle at dawn as the Pink Footed Geese leave for their feeding grounds from the Loch of Strathbeg.  Many of the geese go over our house, calling to each other.  Along with the Whooper Swans.

 November - lovely.