This week’s Weekly Smile for me comes in the form of a new, more energy-efficient central heating and hot water boiler being installed in our house today and tomorrow, along with replacing and re-siting the old standard kitchen radiator with a new modern vertical radiator allowing for a much more effective use of space.
Not only will the boiler cupboard end up looking much neater and tidier once the new equipment is all in place, but also we will be getting rid of the cumbersome hot water tank and excess pipework in the loft so it will become a much more streamlined system overall, which I’m really happy with.
We’re having a few smaller bits and pieces of plumbing work done too so necessarily there’s quite a bit of upheaval going on at the moment, but it feels so good to have it all completed in one go while the water is switched off, just one lot of disruption rather than multiple visits back and forth.
To cap it all, with the serious hike in energy prices introduced from this month onwards it feels like the perfect time for us to be having this replacement work done, and the thought of saving as much as possible going forward in the midst of a national cost of living crisis is almost worth an extra smile in itself 🙂
For me it has to be Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, complete with visuals… the wicked zombie make-up, the iconic dance moves, the whole cleverly-choreographed extravaganza…
Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?
Actually over the last few weeks I keep seeing shadowy figures flitting across my peripheral vision that simply aren’t there! It’s happened enough times to make me wonder what the hell is going on with my eyes… or is it my brain? The other day I clearly ‘saw’ out of the corner of my eye a shadowy someone walk past the living room window on the way to the front door, so I actually went to the door to see who it was and no-one was there at all – no-one at the door, no-one in the garden, no-one even close by in the street… just weird!
Which urban legend scares you the most?
Any or all of them – I can have an extremely over-active imagination at times, even without the help of scary stories intended to set me on edge…
You’re home alone but you hear footsteps in your house – what do you do?
Freak the f**k out, and hide under a blanket…
What is your favourite season?
To be honest I like them all in their different ways, because to me seasonal changes are all a reassuring and healthy part of the natural order of things. But in general, in a Goldilocks kind of way I’d say both spring and autumn are my joint favourites, because it’s neither too hot (like summer can be) or too cold (like winter can be) so the ambient temperature is often ‘just right’ in those changing-from-one-to-the-other months… 🙂
Sometimes I find it frustrating that my watercolour paintings (including this abstract leaf print) always dry so much paler (and less vibrant) than I might like, but luckily with easy digital manipulation I’ve discovered I can visually ‘correct’ the colour when photographing and saving it as a digital image!
Here is the original painting before and after whacking up both the contrast and saturation by 30 (whatever that numerical value represents!) – I’d wanted it to feel like a bright explosion of colour, not a dull disappointment… 🙂
I’ve been thinking recently that my blog is in need of some rejuvenation.
But the more I thought about it I realised that as my blog tends to follow whatever is going on for me in my life at any given time, it’s more likely that it’s my life that needs some rejuvenation – or more to the point, me. Truth be told I’ve been feeling old and boring and tired and thoroughly fed up with life…
I guess the Covid pandemic slowed us all down to some extent, whether just through a succession of lock-downs and restrictions or like with me, also getting sick with it and finding its long-term symptoms frustratingly reluctant to go away. Oh, and about a year ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip, so as well as ongoing Covid fatigue the arthritis has affected my mobility more than I like. As a result, indoor activities have taken precedence nowadays over gadding about here there and everywhere.
So lately I’ve been playing around with paints – with water-colour paints in particular – in an attempt to get a bit more creative again. So far I’ve mainly been painting landscapes and plants, with varying levels of success. To be clear I’m not ever aiming towards creating intricate, accurate botanical colour studies or detailed photographic replicas of my chosen subjects, but instead I’m trying to learn to paint loosely, recreating a more abstract visual ‘feel’ of the thing.
Basically I’m experimenting loads, messing about, mixing things up, finding what works for me and what doesn’t, and this week’s exploration of different ways of putting paint on paper comes courtesy of random garden leaves – I’ve been painting onto the backs of the leaves and printing them directly onto paper. It’s enjoyable to do, but is a messy business.
Playing around and experimenting with things like this feels such fun – it feels like it’s impossible to remain neat and tidy and fully in control of the outcome. Even getting as much paint on myself as on the paper is fun, quite liberating actually. And hopefully it will prove to be rejuvenating, too… 🙂
I had fun using real leaves from my garden with my usual water-colour paints to play about with making abstract leaf prints (that’s both Paint and Prints with a ‘P’!) – I tried a raspberry leaf, a flowering cherry leaf, a rudbekia leaf and an anemone leaf – the anemone without doubt gave the best results, as the leaf was both strong enough and pliable enough to print its veins relatively clearly onto the flat paper. And I found using the underneath of the leaf rather than the top surface was more successful.
I made a real mess of my fingers (and my work surface!) trying to paint onto the curving leaves then printing them onto the paper, but never mind, it’s only water-colour paint so washes off easily and it really was great fun 🙂