Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Guns of August

I'm reading The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, which is without doubt the best and most readable account of the lead up to, and first month of World War 1 that I have seen.

I have to say, nobody comes out of it with much credit with the possible exception of the Belgians, but the Germans really do seem to have been a bunch of absolute rotters, with an official policy of 'frightfulness' towards their conquered territories. General Joffre appears to have been an arrogant, inflexible fool, and Field Marshal French a vacillating idiot. OK, maybe idiot is too strong a term, but certainly not the best man for the job.

Highly recommended, and you can pick it up from The Book Depository for a measley ten bucks in paperback.
The Guns of August by Barbara W Tuchman, 9780345476098, available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spirally Knotty Goodness

I was playing around in CorelDraw and Photoshop and got a bit carried away. Still, you can never have too many knotwork patterns about the place, that's what I always say.

Note: I do not always say that.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Leadlight Installation

I've got my leadlight window installed now. It's just held in place in front of the existing glass with some rimu beading, which simplifies matters enormously — I don't have to worry about it being weathertight (I suspect it's not), if I want to, I can dismount it pretty easily, and it's quite well protected from damage from outside.

Now I have to make one for the other side. I don't want a straight mirror-image of the first, but I do want it to look like they go as a pair. I'll be using the same colours and textures of glass, with a similar sort of design.

I'd really like a much nicer door as well, but that may never happen.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Exercising the fingers

I realised recently that I hadn't been drawing anything much lately, so I thought I'd better take myself in hand and get back into the habit of drawing something every day. Drawing is like pretty much any other skill; if you don't use it, you lose it.

I need to get back to drawing from life, but first I need to get used to actually manipulating pens and pencils and what-not again.

Sure enough, I'm terribly out of practice. My fingers feel like sausages, and it doesn't help that my eyesight is deteriorating as well. Hey-ho.

I bought a multi-colour ball-point pen to play with a while ago, and was given another by a friend. I wanted it originally for writing up game-related stuff, so that I could colour-code bits and pieces without having to keep track of half a dozen pens. Instead, I used them for doodling, and one of the doodles is this guy to the right.

This one is coloured pencil, specifically Faber-Castell Prismacolor pencils, with a ball-point outline.

I tried to seal it with hair spray so that I could over-draw in more colours, but all it did was activate the ball-point ink so that it bled all over the place and straight through the paper.

I could maybe get the textural depth I want in the background with oil pastel, though I'm not sure it warrants going to very much more trouble over.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First Leadlight

I've been doing a short 10-hour course (over 5 weeks) on stained glass and leadlighting. This is the first result.

It's 665 x 330 mm, and loosely based on the sorts of designs I've seen in buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright.

It will be one of two, to go beside our front door. The windows there are presently filled with some fairly crappy textured uncoloured glass; I'll leave those panes in place, and seat the leadlights inside them, held in place with wood beading. That way I won't have to mess about removing the existing glass, or worry about whether or not they're weatherproof (though the windows are pretty completely sheltered from the weather in any case).

I have to say, I am smugly pleased with this first attempt.