One of my favourite new bands are Night Beds – not least for the astonishing voice of Winston Yellen who writes and sings their material. Perhaps the song that showcases both his songwriting skills and amazing vocal range is Cherry Blossoms.
This is a shot I took this morning in my garden – it looks its best in Springtime. This line from the Night Beds song says it all really –
Cherry Blossoms In Spring, And All The Joy It Brings
Seriously recommend this band – sadly missed them on their recent UK tour – hope to catch them next time around. Meantime, hope you like the shot of the blossom.
I’d not been too well earlier in the year and I’d promised myself that I’d visit the Van Gogh Museum before 2013 was through. We made it with a little under a month to go.
I’d bought tickets for the Van Gogh Museum online and after a great breakfast in the nearby ‘Small Talk’ cafe, spent several hours in awe of the work of this amazing artist. Something of a lump in the throat, too, as I looked at his last painting, left incomplete just before his death. But Amsterdam itself soon takes your mind off things – not least the glorious canal network that surely served the commercial advance of the Dutch in the past.
And then there’s the ubiquitous bicycle. Just watch the variety of locals who ride these at speed and you get a sense of a people comfortable in their own skin.
I wasn’t quite expecting to see so much colour everywhere but then we’d been lucky with the weather and Amsterdam was gearing up for Christmas. Even these ripped billboards seem to have an artistic life of their own. You can just see the Christmas decorations hung above the street below.
One part of Amsterdam that did leave a different sort of mark was the Anne Frank House.
But then there’s always a houseboat gently resting on a canal that’s never too far away to cheer you up.
This cosy and inviting residence almost seems to sum up the warmth of an Amsterdam welcome. I’ll be back.
Summer seems so far away now even though the skies remain blue and the temperatures quite decent.
Autumn’s on it’s way yet this shot was taken in the boot of the hire car in Spain only a few weeks ago. Packed and ready for another lazy day on a glorious beach we’d discovered in Cabo de Palos. How had I missed this beach before on previous visits? Happy memories now as holidays end. Oh well…
Being a bit of language monkey, I’d often thought the small town of El Algar ,near the coast in the Murcia region of Spain, might well have had arabic origins. After all, check out the map and you’ll see this part of Spain in only a stone’s throw across the Mediterranean from modern day Algeria.
The town’s inhabitants from the various ethnic groups seem to rub along just fine. Here, a group of Muslim men are shooting the breeze at a table in the shadow of the local Catholic church.
There’s not an awful lot to see in El Algar but we’d decided it was worth a quick detour off the highway to take a look.
This modern sculpture in front of an old theatre caught my eye.
And I definitely think this old property’s got potential.
If it’s true to the town’s arabic roots, it could well have a cool, quiet courtyard hidden inside.
Sunday morning in Shanghai comes in different shapes and sizes. Just behind the Nanjing Road, cyclists, street traders and local policemen jostle for space.
While just a ten minute stroll away families and friends were having an altogether more relaxed Sunday morning in the shade.
Generations of young and old mix happily together.
While many of the young use a leisurely Sunday morning to take their technology for a spin, older citizens of Shanghai can often be seen in a more reflective frame of mind.
And everywhere there are children – the future of modern China.
A glorious Sunday morning on Crosby Beach yesterday and a chance to let the dog off the lead. The sands were golden in the bright morning sunshine and the tide was high. Many of Anthony Gormley’s figures were submerged up to their waists far out to sea. I don’t claim any merit for this shot but include it on my blog out of interest really.
It’s the Stena Line ferry heading out from the mouth of the River Mersey into Liverpool Bay en route to Belfast. In the foreground, seaweed has washed up on the shoreline, while in the distance, the Welsh hills. Looks like the voyage to Belfast could be a pleasant one.
I saw this fascinating image on the window of the toilets (of all places!) in The Grapes pub in Liverpool’s Roscoe Street.
Couldn’t resist taking a picture as I reckon it might make an interesting painting at some stage in the future.
The Grapes is a great pub – and was once a watering hole for John Lennon in his art school days. Here’s a link for those who fancy checking the pub out –
I mentioned in my previous post that I had to cut short a sketching and painting expedition to get home to my new chocolate labrador, Henry.
Here’s the individual concerned – attempting to keep cool as the temperatures soar.
He’s nearly three months old and every day brings more fun and games. Wouldn’t be without him.
I’ve been looking for somewhere to sketch and paint and discovered a derelict area of Toxteth in Liverpool. I’m not too sure what the developers’ plans are but this a fantastic area and I’ve driven here to sketch on more than one occasion. Surprising what you see – such as this amazing plot of wildflowers running riot and a blaze of colour against the bluest of summer skies.
Just around the corner is Jermyn Street – I think. Certainly not the Jermyn Street renowned for fine tailoring in London. I only had time for a hasty sketch this morning as I needed to get back to check in on my new chocolate labrador, Henry. But expect many more posts of photographs, sketches and paintings in due course. Here it is below, a curious blend of boarded up properties and hippy havens.
The pictures don’t show it but this was around mid-day and the temperature on the Dubai Creek was hitting the high 30s.
There was a slight breeze on the Creek though and the beautiful colours of this traditional sailing craft were soothing too.
Plenty of interesting decorative detail to customise the boat and everywhere you looked there were fascinating shapes to see.
Only a short taxi ride away in a sleek Lexus was the glittering mecca of conspicuous wealth – the Mall of the Emirates. And overhead, huge jets were swooping in to the ever expanding international airport that is serving the development of the United Arab Emirates so well. But here on the creek, traditional craft like the one above ply a more traditional trade as they sail back and forth across the Persian Gulf between Dubai and Iran.
Here’s a crew member putting aside the commercial, maritime imperative and instead answering the traditional call to prayer.