The moments of happiness we enjoy

take us by surprise.

It is not that we seize them,

but that they seize us.

Ashley Montagu

Another craft project from Cloudsofcolour: DIY Doodle-stones. Go for a walk, pick up some stones, wash, and decorate with waterproof ink. Nice as decorations or small personal gifts. And it’s great fun to look at a stone, and try to see who’s hiding in it.

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise.

Unrepentant Amateur

Dancing shoes.

Amateurs worry about equipment,
professionals worry about money,
masters worry about light,
I just take pictures…

– Vernon Trent

In a recent blog post an art student was sneering at mediocre watercolours and flower close-ups posted by amateur “photographers” (sic!). I’m guilty of both, and particularly felt the gratuitous insult of the inverted commas.

Like most amateurs I don’t think highly of my efforts, and am often awed when I see someone else’s. But I am – even childishly – pleased when I succeed in capturing, if only partially, something I see in nature or my mind’s eye. I enjoy sharing that vision.

I also love looking at other people’s efforts. Often I can sense the energy and joy in some quite inexpert ones, or feel pleasure at someone else’s success, sometimes with a twinge of “Ooh, I wish I could do that!” And I believe that anything consciously produced as “Art with a capital A”, or in an effort to showcase one’s talent, creativity or skill, will be strained and somehow lacking.

So I will continue to enjoy creating and sharing mediocre watercolours, snaps of pretty flowers and little stories.

– The unrepentant amateur


One of the zentangle habits is to name the patterns one puts in a doodle. The one I personally call “Crazy” (like crazy paving) is good for covering up pattern ideas that didn’t work out. Can you spot it?


Our eyes may calmly look upon this earth
Perceive its beauty, and admire its wonder,
And wander fitfully around its girth
Dividing elements and parts asunder.

For all that we behold we seek to name,
To understand. We always want to know
What’s different, similar, and what’s the same,
Why mountains bulge and whither rivers flow.

But as we grasp the world, our own ideas
Stand in the way of what our eyes can see.
Our stories, superstitions, hopes and fears
Do not allow our judgement to be free.

Know this and your vision will be clearer:
The world’s but your reflection in a mirror.

Patterns of life

The latest 100wcgu challenge is to write a sonnet, possibly including St.George. I gave poor old George a miss. Conversion-at-dragon-point is not really my cup of tea,  and I rather like dragons anyway, see an Elizabethan dragon, and it’s clan.

Small Talk

Twenty questions again. How he hated it.

If at least people asked directly it would be a clean death. These oblique questions were torture. He’d tried evasion. “I work for the government.” It didn’t help, just drew the painful process out.

Unfortunately, he was a bad liar: he’d stammer or choke. He blushed to recall the amazed and unbelieving looks. “I work for a business consultancy”, whatever that meant. Once, in a panic, “I’m a funeral director.”  Well, everything was better than the truth.

The shifty looks. The mumbled excuses.

My name is Peter and I am a tax inspector.

This week’s challenge from T.Mastgrave: Taxes.

Rainbow Trail

Leroy bet me
I couldn’t find
a pot of gold at the end,
and I told him
it was a stupid bet
because the rainbow
was enough.

Rita Mae Brown

Tangling Away

Last year I came across a doodle movement: Zentangle / Tangle / Zendala / Zendoodle etc. Quite simple really:

  • draw four points for the corners
  • pencil lines between them
  • pencil a loop or string to break it up
  • fill each of the resulting areas with a different pattern.

Tried it yet?

Splash of Spring

Felt in need of some colour today. Somehow watercolours bring out the pure joy of colours beautifully, don’t they?

Drifting Off

That’s what he would do. Gerald heaved a sigh of relief.

The decision had been driving him crazy. He hadn’t been able to sleep for almost a fortnight. There were so many factors to consider. So many things that could go wrong. But now all that was over. He’d made the decision, and all would be well. It was a great weight off his mind.

He turned over in bed: now for a good night’s sleep. He closed his eyes, ready to drift into oblivion. It was several minutes before he heard the niggling voice.

What if he was wrong?

Another challenge from T.Mastgrave: Doubt.

Turning over a New Leaf?

Spring: time for new things

Easter Doodles

Easter eggs? Bertie's nose prints?
With modern art: who knows?

Picasso at His Best

Another online doodle tool: Picassohead.

Picasso at his best.

See him in the gallery.

Bertie’s getting a little anxious here.

Exercice de Style

Exercise de style

I admit to being an art book junkie, and I bought myself yet another one for Christmas, Drawing with Imagination, by Bert Dodson. Plenty of ideas there, and I’m not through yet. This is exercise n°1, and in a small way it reminds my a bit of Queneau (see it in English), and of Madden.

Sleeping in style.