sketching the lake

Sketching the lake

Sketching the lake

Here’s today’s sketch made on another grey, cold UK day.  Having climbed over a fence I managed to sit on a plastic bench to draw, believing less people would walk immediately behind me. I’m still very shy about drawing in public. Chiefly because I think I’m not very good. Some did of course peer at me, so I clutched my sketch closer to me. When I feel my sketching’s better, I might be more confident about people being around. Until then I’ll be discreet! Practice makes perfect.

My hands were frozen by the end of it but I was pleased. Trouble is I think I’m putting in too much detail. Wish I could do more sketching and less drawing but I can’t get away from the detail.

If you like water I’ve also sketched a seaside bay

sketching the lake

drawing the bay

Sketching the bay

Sketching the bay

Well the drawing lessons have been running for a few weeks now but I’ve been unhappy with my output from them. Maybe it was time to get out from the classroom into the great outdoors and draw what I wanted instead. It was dull and a bit damp when I arrived at the bench I’d selected to sit on. Thankfully it wasn’t damp enough enough to wet the paper, while I spent the best part of 2 hours sketching.  Funny how stiff you get just drawing!  Good job it’s not an Olympic sport.

For the uninitiated I’m holding my sketch in front of the subject, which is the bay near my home.

If you like this one have a look at some of my other drawings like Sketches of Spain

drawing the bay

beginners pine cone drawn quickly

"Drawing for beginners"

Beginners please

I started attending a “Drawing for Beginners” evening class at a local college. The 1st lesson wasn’t what I was expecting, but was really enjoyable because I was actually doing some drawing again. After completing the usual admin forms, the tutor said she was going to ‘free us up’.  She explained we needed to relax in order to draw, hence the music on the radio during every lesson I guess.  Next we chose an object to draw from a tray full of knick-knacks.  I chose a pine cone.  We drew our object with our usual hand (mine’s the right), then with our non-drawing hand, then holding the pencil at the very top, then with our “other” hand again at the very top.

A little loosener

After those looseners we started putting objects together on the table to draw a still life.  Natalie gave us 5 minutes start and then asked us to stand up and move a place to the left to work on another person’s drawing.  Soon progressing around the tables we were able to add colour via crayons or pastels. Eventually we landed back at our original drawing and could see all the additions everyone working on it had made.  And they were ‘interesting’!

Judging from the output pictures below, I think I’ve a few lessons to learn!  Boom, boom!

If you like these have a look at

Emp'uh'uh of the empire

The Emp'uh'uh

The Setup

At a writing meet up I had 20 minutes to write something based on the word 'empire', so I turned to my trusty Rory's Story Cubes app while the others chatted. I 'rolled' 4 cubes on my phone to act as prompts, and they helped me write 'The Emp'uh'uh' that night. I seem to remember one cube was a dragonfly, another a cat, but I can't remember the others. Normally I photograph them to remind me. Sometimes the writing goes well and I was pleased with my imagination in this one. See what you think...

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About me

About me

Here's a little bit about me. Readin’ and writin’ have always been easier for me than ‘rithmetic, so I attended a couple of creative writing courses in 2008/9.

Then I joined a creative writing group  and eventually ended up with a lot of pieces of work scattered around me, various books and folders, even in nooks and crannies on the internet.

I bought a domain name and decided it would be nice to showcase my stories and poems, the occasional video, and even some sketches.

This blog’s that creative outlet and I hope you find something you like.

Sketches of Spain

Art lessons

For a recent birthday my wife bought me a couple of lessons with an excellent local artist. He paints in watercolours and oils and sketches. I enjoyed these two lessons so much I had a further two.

Peter’s a marvellous artist who teaches sketching and watercolours, and spends lots of time practising his art out and about. I’ve seen him on the beach with an easel! He exhibits locally at various art shows as well. Because he was going to Yorkshire for a week’s painting and I was bound for Spain for a month’s holiday we decided to call a halt after these 4 lessons.

My drawing career could really start!

I decided that magnificent Malaga was a place where my drawing career could really start. As it happens the only time I took my pencils and paper away from the apartment was once as part of a food shopping trip, when I stopped to sketch on the promenade.

Most of my sketches were done from the balcony terrace of the apartment we stay in, which looks over Cerrado de Calderon to Pedregalejo on the Mediterranean Sea.

I found there was so much to see and draw from there and I had a great time putting these sketches together. The overall title of this piece, “Sketches of Spain” is also the title of a classic jazz long player made in 1960 by the great American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.

If you liked this, why not have a look at Sketching the lake and Sketching the bay ?

Round robin anyone?


The Setup

Read about round robin story writing here. To do it you need to be in a room with or connected online maybe, to a bunch of other writers. A round robin starts when everyone involved writes down a random paragraph, and passes it to the writer on their left to add to the story. The writer on your right gives you their paragraph and you add another one, then pass the sheet on. Before you know it Bob's your Uncle and Charlie's your Aunt! If there's a fair few of you, by the time your paper gets back to you you've almost got a story. Just tie up the loose ends in a final spurt of writing as well as you can.  [The photo shows some of my round robin from the exercise.]

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Gardenias again

It was past my usual finish time, when I wearily climbed the stairs to my apartment. The Soames woman caught me in the hallway, stepping out of her door.

"Did you come home for lunch today, Mr Harris?  I heard you singing along to the radio. Quite a nice voice, dearie." She dropped a plastic charity sack to leave for collection sometime maybe.

I thought about the windows I once broke caterwauling at the Glee Club, and said "No time for lunch today.  We were closing a big deal and the owner asked us to work through. Said he'd see us all right at the end of the month though."

Mrs Soames frowned, and shook her head at my masochistic attitude to nutrition,  retreating back to her apartment, like a gnarled turtle to its shell.

Someone'd stamped out a half-smoked Black Sobranie outside my door.  "Damn’ postmen ... paid too much these days."  I grumbled to myself. "That and their elastic bands everywhere. Goddamn Sumatra's gone broke 'cos of them." I was really enjoying being a crusty old guy these days.

Opening the front door I realised, must have left the hall light on before walking out this morning.  I hung my coat on the hall stand, dropped my case and headed for the drinks trolley, like a fish looking for water.

“My usual, bartender.”

Funny thing... not like me to leave a drink unfinished, but there was a glass with a half inch of bourbon still hanging around on the trolley. Could I afford to ditch even a half inch of old bourbon? Didn't smell the same when it was left out all day but whatever way you drank it, it was still bourbon. Down the hatch.

After filling a new one with a couple more fingers of the good stuff, I left the old glass in the kitchen for the maid to sort out.

Yeah that’s right... me, the next time I wash up.

I pride myself on my nose. (I know, it's big enough - there, I thought I'd say it before you did), but in spite of having started in on the Woodford Reserve, a pretty fragrant brew in itself, I was sure I could maybe smell gardenias.

"Reminds me of the perfume Jane used to wear". It had crossed my cerebral cortex before I had a chance to stop it.

I hadn't opened any of the windows yet, not even the French ones. So it couldn't be the smell of flowers drifting in. Then, just as quickly, it was gone, like cigarette smoke in an afternoon breeze. I hunted high and low with my famed nose, but no gardenias anymore. I reasoned it was better to have loved 'em and lost 'em than never to have smelled 'em. I'm like that. Pragmatic, all the way down the line.

After a tv dinner and a half bottle of good ole Mister Montepulciano, I went to turn in.  I dunno... all work, and no play these days.

Would you believe the maid hadn't put my spare toothbrush back in the bathroom cabinet after that last work trip to St Louis? There it was on the washstand, like I'd used it this morning. But I hadn't. Weird shit happening round here.

Can't understand this drop in my usual household standards.  I'm usually quite a 'together' guy.

Folks'll be phoning the Good Housekeeping Institute if I don’t clean up my act.

© adewils 2018



Steve got a writing toolkit for Christmas, so we each took one of its' emery boards containing a prompt, and started writing. He interrupted us every 5 minutes with another line which we used to change the direction of our stories. My starting prompt was: I loved the way she said "balloon". She said it as if she were blowing bubbles

My story with the interruptions in italics is below.Read more

Detail from a Lowry painting at Kelvingrove

Our day at Kelvingrove Art Gallery

We visited Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where I shot some video on my iPhone, and when I got home, I edited it into a short film using iMovie.

As well as using iMovie on your iPhone, you can also use it to make films on an iPad or a Mac. It's a free app download for Apple devices. It took me a while to get familiar with using it, but truthfully, the mechanics of making a film with it, are pretty easy, after you've practised for a while.

Once you've opened iMovie, your videos are already there. Now just drag and drop the frames into a suitable flow. Drop in some photos as required, if they'll add something to your video. iMovie can do a weird thing, known as the Ken Burns effect, where it makes your still photo look a bit like video. But needless to say, you can turn it off if you like.

Edit your video as much as you like. Shorten a bit here, shorten a bit there. If you like, copy a frame, and split it, then you can use the first half in one part of your film, and the second half in another part of your film. Or the other way round. You can speed up the time of some video, so you can get all the action in, but not slow the pace down too much. Speed it up, for comic effect, if you want. Or make some of it slo-mo (slow motion to the uniniated).

Add some sound effects or a piece of music to the whole. Fade the music out in places where some of your recorded audio would sound good in the foreground. You can change some segments around if you like by dragging and dropping. Create some credits using iMovie too. Nothing much to that, just choose a style of credits and type in credits text you want to see.

When you've got used to the interface, all of the above is possible by clicking or tapping simple button controls on the app, all for free.

When you've finished making your video, post it to Vimeo or YouTube, and don't forget to change your Settings to allow the Public to see it (I'm one of them), and send me a Comment so I can watch it too.

Here's my latest. It's no "War & Peace", at just 78 seconds long, but I hope you like it. If you do like it, why not take a look at this video For Your Pleasure