Magical City Colouring Book

My husband picked me up a Lizzie Mary Cullen ‘Magical City’ colouring book for next to nothing in a charity shop the other day, with only three out of 70 designs lightly coloured in by the previous owner. I’d never thought about colouring in city-scapes before, but I’ve made a start on going over the three half-heartedly-done (by my standards) designs in my own rather more heavy-handed style.

I’d already finished re-colouring the first one (of London’s Baker Street) before I realised I should probably have taken a picture of it before I began, as well as after… Oh well… Oops! At least I took pics of the other two to compare…

Anyway, here is a little gallery of the book cover as well as my before and after colouring in shots (minus the one I forgot). It turns out I’m really happy with my second-hand colouring in as well as with my otherwise pristine second hand colouring in book – definitely something creative to smile about this week, and for the month ahead at least! 🙂

Trent’s Weekly Smile

Escapist Colouring Club

Advertisements

Experimenting with Movement

So Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is ‘Movement’, and I decided to go out for a walk with my camera to see if I could capture any movement – it still feels odd having spent years teaching myself how not to have camera shake or fuzzy movement, to then deliberately create it in a shot. I was initially thinking people, or cars, or buses zooming along the road. But it’s hot and sunny and bright and not really long exposure weather, and anyway as I’ve never really got the hang of sucessfully using my ND filter I gave up on that idea.

Instead I went for a walk in the local woods, where there’s always a bit of shade to be had, lots of dark and light, and played about for a bit experimenting in taking oddly moving pictures of trees – obviously the trees don’t move, but with the right settings a bit of camera trickery can provide the motion! Aperture priority, aperture closed down ( experimenting with different levels), ISO fixed at 160 (lowest my camera can do), and plenty of deliberate camera movement on my part.

To start with I tried my usual zoom bursts, holding the camera steady and zooming the lens from wide to tele, but they looked quite boring; then I tried holding the lens steady and moving the camera instead; then moving the entire camera and lens in a circle; then up and down; then back and forth; and finally in any odd shape I fancied. Overall I tried minimal abstraction (so the grass and trees are still reasonably recognisable), maximum abstraction (where it’s all just random green fuzz) and an in between, neither-one-nor-the-other kind of melting-forest dream-state effect.

I took loads, so here are some of my favourites in all three categories:

Slight movement…

Melting Forest…

Completely abstract…

So altogether I’ve ended up with some very different views of my usual walk through the woods, and perhaps cheekily have also created a rather different take on Nancy’s Photo A Week Challenge prompt of ‘View’ – what fun I’ve had with this today! 🙂

Comfort Colouring

Over the last couple of months, while due to ongoing digestive issues I’ve been trying to fix my lifelong habit of emotional eating, I’ve tried distracting myself with colouring something in instead of eating whenever I get stressed. It’s kind of working, my comfort colouring – well, most of the time anyway. So as a result I’ve been doing loads of bits and pieces of colouring in lately, mostly with gel pens or using both pens and pencils in the same design, but to ring the changes I’ve again gone back to the old school staple of using basic coloured pencils. I do tend to love the bright, strong confident colour tones created by using relatively heavy pressure on the page rather than the quieter almost pastel shades achieved by using gentler, softer strokes – hope you like them too! 🙂

A Dearth of Inspiration

Sometimes my creative juices flow urgently like a river in spate, powerful and passionate, full of interesting objects beneath the roaring swell just waiting to be released to the surface. But at other times my creative urges dry to a dusty croak dying of thirst along a desert track, dehydrated and dessicated, leaving me with a complete dearth of inspiration…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Dearth

Self Portraits in Summer

I am seriously not keen on staged or posed portrait photos of me – especially just me alone – even the thought of it leaves me feeling truly uncomfortable somewhere deep down inside, all squirmy and suddenly clammy all over. The thing is, there are plenty of photos of me as a young child, sometimes caught candidly, sometime posed, and I seemed to have been fine with it then, so I wonder when did my discomfort begin?

With realisation of the not-good-enough self, perhaps, an awareness of apparently not meeting the required standards in life? Or of not liking what I see, of being a disappointment? I’m not terribly keen on being in pics with other people, either, but at least I feel a bit more at ease with that – candid snapshots with me and my grandkids, for example, make wonderful memories to be treasured however fat/old/wrinkly I look. But just me on my own… no!

I’m quite clearly not one of the millennial generation, who all seem to think nothing of taking about a million selfies every day in a hundred different public places but always with the same moue mouth, and then posting the best shots online. I always feel far too self-conscious to appear so self-absorbed in public, and all too often it shows in the end result. My husband takes some good selfies of us together, but he knows he needs to catch us quickly or I start to look either stony-faced or forced-stare-y.

But today I was on my own in our local park, lying on my back on the short grass and just looking up at the vast hugeness of the sky, like I used to love to do as a kid. There were a few clouds floating about, but overall the sky was beautifully blue and I found myself thinking (amongst other things) about what the sky might start to look like if the ozone layer depletes too much more, or worse, disappears altogether… would we still have a sky at all?

Anyway, at that point in my random reverie I sat up and spontaneously decided to take a selfie or two, just for the sheer hell of it, and of course for posterity. Phone camera on, selfie mode on, and click, click, click, squinting a bit at the screen in the sunlight. A quick look… hmmm… then click, click, click again… enough. The mood passed as suddenly as it had arrived, and the sun chose that moment to hide behind the only huge grey cloud in the sky…

When I got home and looked more closely at what I’d taken, I was, as usual, disappointed. Six pics of me, two of which were OK-ish. There I was in glorious technicolour, double chin, no make-up, hair dishevelled in the soft warm breeze and eyes all wrinked up in the sunshine. God, these phone cameras pick up every flaw in your face. But then I thought – even young people sometimes use filters to make themselves look better, don’t they? So I searched online for something suitable to soften the rather harsh look and…

Ta-da! I still look like me, with my natural dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look and fake photo smile. The rectangular image simply has a ‘sweet caramel’ haze on it and the square image a ‘soft lilac’ haze, both quite flattering, I find. Two passable al fresco self-portraits in summer, me at 55, in a blue dress against a blue background, on the day I wondered randomly about what colour the sky might be if the ozone layer evaporates… Let’s hope I never have to find out 🙂

Stream of Conscousness Saturday: Leaves

Mix and Match Media

I decided to mix and match gel pens with coloured pencils in colouring in this circular design – I first used a metallic gold gel pen to create an outline framework, then continued with gel pens for the smaller fiddly bits. I chose coloured pencils to fill in the larger inner areas, then finished off with gel pens again around the border 🙂

Escapist Colouring Club