Timber cladding…

Have just finished the timber cladding on the dining room and side of the kitchen.


Lots of different stages to get to this point, including insulating, fixing breather membrane to make it all waterproof and fixing first the vertical then the horizontal battens. The existing windows were painted with upvc paint primer then an external grey paint. New aluminium cill extenders were added over the existing cills and galvanised steel downpipes and gutter was fixed.

A real transformation and also much better insulation!


Kicking myself into action: Art in acrylic…

At last, the opportunity has come to develop some creative ideas, in the form of the more traditional elements, including acrylic paint and canvas. I’ve been concentrating on photography (loosely) for a number of years and it’s been the quickest and gratifying method of being creative and has led to thousands of priceless family pictures (ok, priceless to us!).

It’s also ideal in terms of home education. While the boys are doing their own games or painting themselves (not literally, although that does happen), I can also be getting on the art train. It’s also an inspiring approach whereby the boys experience the adults interest and desire to be creative – it really does wear off and enhance their learning process.

Lines art

The image above was produced purely digitally and formed part of my exhibition in January 2010. Part of the concept was to produce something which had an organic feel, including motion caught in time, with varying line thickness’s. The image started out as a 3D model I produced in SketchUp. I then used various filters in there and zoomed into a wireframe view to get a more abstract composition.


I then exported it into Photoshop and applied further layers and filters + turned it into a layer mask then added a photo from Amsterdam behind. Possibly 20 steps in all.

I produced this in 2009 and since then have been accumulating ideas and concepts which, for one reason or 20 others, i’ve not had the chance to develop. This is now the opportunity and as Flora Bowley says, ‘let go, be bold and unfold’. A main driver for all this is to develop art ideas which incorporate photography but which move into the use of different media forms, including acrylic and canvas. I sometimes find digital photography slightly limiting to the artistic spirit (even though that’s my main passion) and need to develop a wider range of expression.

This video by the Abstract Art Lesson website was really the thing which kicked me into action and really showed me the way forward.

The video mentioned the use of Liquitex paint so I checked out their website – very inspiring and full of information. They were apparently the first company in 1955 to produce water-based acrylic paint.

The next inspiration is Flora Bowley’s book and concept – Brave Intuitive Painting, which my wife actually had already bought but which I just hadn’t taken in : ) Sometimes you need a jolt in a certain direction to then be able to take in or absorb things which may already be all around you.

This video on Vimeo shows her creative process in a very well produced short film.

She also suggests using stiff foam brushes of various widths and water to help blend the paint while still wet. Can’t wait to get started on all this and since it’s my birthday coming up, it seems like a good chance to jump in : )

Q. Has anyone had this kind of inspiration or do you use acrylic paints? Any essential tips of the trade?


Insulated render materials delivered & chimney work…

Materials have arrived for the insulated render work, which will start this coming week.

The pink box-looking things are packs of Kingspan K5 phenolic boards, which are used with renders. These are the main part of the insulation for the house and will apparently bring the insulation level up to modern building regs standard!

Product details here: kingspan K5

The other thing is the rear chimney stack. This needs some work, as parts of the mortar are gone and the flashing might need replacing. Obviously there is a big gap there! One option is to get it re-mortared, but the quote we’ve got is only £200 more to get it totally taken down and roofed over. I’d rather do a proper job on it than just patch it up. This does mean getting permission from the neighbour, which might take some time.