A word for the year?

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs with emphasis on a word for the new year. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.


I’m greedy!

Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. One word is not enough. I’m currently working with far more than one, but today I will only share one with you.


A New Year brings change, and who knows what the rest of the year has in store. I’m using these words in my art and the second one is Renew. It might be a while before you discover any more – there are quite a few.


This doesn’t really count as a work of art – it’s just a quick expression.

Time for change – I can feel it happening already.

100 Steps

I’m really enjoying this series, I mentioned it earlier when I illustrated how such a walk had been used (I haven’t told you about that one, yet). The photograph was taken during a walk in the snow which began at our local canal. I’ve mentioned it before, and this 100 steps is actually the same  area that I wrote about here. The comparison with the scene just two months ago is quite interesting.

The last walk began at the canal bridge. Work was going on to drain an area so that a new pipeline could be installed. Well, work is continuing, but at the time of taking these pictures the workmen were hampered by the cold temperatures


By way of introduction, this photograph is taken from the old bridge (no longer open to motorised traffic) and is of the canal in the opposite direction to the way we were intending to walk. You can see the snow lying, obviously, and the frozen water. There is now a solid barrier on both sides of the area in which they are working, and the ice extended beyond, surrounding the dredger and other boats that were there…


Now we start the walk! This is step 0! The barrier grid is still there, and the ice is clearly seen.


Just two steps, though, and what a difference! Water was (and is) still being pumped out causing ripples and unexpected water movement.


The ducks were pleased about this, and those ripples are duly recorded in one of my sketchbooks for use at a later date.


I think of these mallards as being quite colourful ducks, but in this environment they are almost perfectly camouflaged, that surprised me,


The edge of the canal showed signs of ice as we moved along, but it was the reflections and patterns created in the water that interested me here.

5So too here. The uprights of the trees, band of snow and interesting reflections are something I will use in the not too distant future. I like the interest in the foreground too, I would like to have brought this piece home with me, but the seeds are better in their natural environment than on my desk ready for drawing….


This brought us to the basin, and almost the end of 100 steps, do you remember this?


I wonder if it has moved since I photographed it last time!

There are just a couple more photographs I’d like to include today. To show that they aren’t really part of the journey I’ve included them in a little gallery with captions. They were actually of areas that featured in the 100 steps of the following week, but I won’t be devoting a post specifically to that part of the walk this time.

Don’t forget that if you click on a picture in the gallery you will open a slideshow with captions. I hope you have enjoyed coming with me. I’d love it if you took part too. You might like to visit the related posts below for inspiration. 100 steps isn’t far, why not try it? Details here, and please link back to this week’s post, then I can come and visit.

Related posts

Today’s 100

I’ve been thinking a lot about design. I have an exhibition coming up, and, of course, lots of teaching, so I’m always on the look out for ways of showing things. We’ve had a very wet few days, no floods, but there is a fair bit of water around on our local (within walking distance) nature reserve, and also along the canal. I went for a walk along the latter today, and have to say it was a very informative walk. I managed to count out 4 separate sections of 100, so I have some ‘in the bag’ for future posts. I’m looking at them with a view to using them in textiles, but you may be able to use them for other crafts too.

My alternative title for this post would be ‘behind bars’, and that doesn’t signify that I’ve misbehaved, the reason will become obvious quite soon. This first picture shows the road bridge at the start of my walk. The path to the right is currently blocked as there is a lot of work going on. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole area, so you will have to put it together bit by bit. All those pipes are connected to pumps which are removing the water from under the bridge. Note the angular lines, the perspective of the bridge, all of these are easy to translate into a design.

Now you can see the level of the water a little more clearly. Sludgy colours, browns, green, greys and a touch of blue with mustard at the bottom. The strong lines lend themselves to patchwork. The colours could be interpreted in the same technique, with artistic licence you could move them around a little, but it would all work.

When this barrier was inflated I’m presuming that the engineers hadn’t expected so much rain. You can see that the water level on the left is very close to the top. The blue is temporary, but a bit of a blot on the landscape. it is however, a contrast to the copper which is just in vision, also on the left.

This above, and the previous two pictures, are all elements of the same photograph. Blue greys, blue, silver, cool colours warmed with a flash of copper and yellow.

Greens, yellow, gold, copper and blue. The reflections suggest stitching, maybe some seeding, running stitches….. And look closely. Reflections. Different shades and tones. Just what an artist needs!

The water from under the bridge is being pumped back into the canal. Every now and then it pushes out a little burst which causes lovely ripples in the water. These would be wonderful reproduced in machine stitches. Analagous colours, hilighted with silver.

And there is that copper again! The blue/green of the plant on the right is a good foil for that. More stitching patterns in the water. Do you get a feel of what I am doing?

The ducks are just there for good measure! This is really a colour study. Find threads of the same shades and wrap them around a card. It’s a permanent keepsake while the day is fresh in the memory. You can even try to wrap a proportionate amount, but this isn’t easy.

This view shows a strong foreground. This could be portrayed with applique or hand stitching. The patches of light in the sky are echoed in the reflections, the copper on the right is also on the left in the bottom corner. Strong verticals at the top are echoes of the foreground. There are some really strong design elements here.

Horizontal and vertical lines. Reflections, foreground, contrast, analagous, break the picture down and you can almost make it fit into any format. I love the strong uprights at the top and the echoes of them reflected in the water. The grass at the bottom just helps to soften the edge.

And here endeth the first 100! You can see the bridge on the left in the middle, and the puddles show how wet it was overnight. Fortunately one of the householders is well prepared. The boat is there for all eventualities – rain or shine! I hope you enjoyed the stroll with me. It’s surprising what you can see if you actually look, and even if this 100 doesn’t result in a work of art many of the elements will remain with me and be present in others. I hope you will take part and go on a walk of 100 steps. You don’t need to break it down in the way that I have, just show us what you find. More details are here, but don’t forget to return and leave your link for this week here in the comments below.

Enjoy you walk, and I look forward to coming with you……

Today’s 100

Today’s stroll of 100 was along one of our main roads – en route to a slightly less urbanised area! If you hover your mouse over the photographs you will see part of the captions you will need to click the picture to read it all. The sequence is random – so you might see the end first!

Hope you will join in, link to this post or leave a comment below and I’ll take a look. Full details here.

Today’s 100

A new theme, or should I say a new meme?

In recent months I have become much more aware of my environment. I’ve lived in the same area for many years, in the same house for several. It would be fair to say that I thought I knew the area well. I often walk, looking for inspiration. Sometimes I’m investigating in local woodland, or around a lake, or just along the roads. It’s fair to say that I’ve seen it all before – but I haven’t properly LOOKED!

So, I started doing it slightly differently. Somewhere along my walk I choose a starting point, and then count 100 paces, really looking at the area as I stroll. I’ve noticed wrought iron gates that I didn’t know were there. Lots of lovely plants that hardly had a glance, 20 pigeons having a party – and lots more.  You’ll be surprised at what you see even if you decide to start at your front gate and just walk 100 steps in one direction.  How far is 100 steps? Not far! For instance ….

I took this picture yesterday. I’m standing at the start of a short path that cuts off a corner from the main road. I took the picture then began my walk, counting as I went.

After 100 I had actually reached the end of the path. You can just see the  main road at the end.

So here’s my first 100. Fancy joining me? I’d love to see what you spot within 100 paces. If you do join in lplease link back to this post or leave a comment below below and I’ll come and visit.

Today’s journal page

Sometimes it helps to just slosh paint onto the page and make it look as though you have created something!  I’m finding things a little hard going at the moment, so this is what I did this morning.

You can see that it didn’t take me long, and that was intentional.  There’s a little more information here.

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