Travel by car was an altogether different experience, however ...
Four works trimmed and mounted on boards, details written up on the back, and all ready to go. Last week B drove me to Edinburgh to drop them off at the Open Eye Gallery in Abercromby Place. I would normally take the train to pick up the mount boards and then again a few days later to deliver the completed works, but I sprained my ankle rather badly three weeks ago and the walks to and from the train stations, although short, were out of the question. A shame, because I look forward to these annual trips. They have a sense of occasion and I never tire of the wonderful crossing of the River Forth; I'm also at leisure to stop for a chat with the wonderful Open Eye people, and to wander around and ogle all the beautiful art when I get there. Before the pandemic the Edinburgh Christmas German market was open at the time of delivery, too, which I absolutely loved.
Travel by car was an altogether different experience, however ...
Just two weeks on and my avocado stone sprout is going crazy. The first one to sprout is pictured below, but the latest, No.3, is really scaring me - its root is all twisty, and when I move the jar it lashes around like a worm, and it has produced something snaky and hairy in its water. Nature is terrifying, I'm the rabbit caught in the headlights - I don't want to look, but I can't stop looking.
These are my very first successes after many years of trying to get an avocado stone to sprout! (Apologies for hairy finger, looks like everything is sprouting right now)
I just can't believe how this detail from Before There Were Saturdays relates to the current avocado stones sprouts, given I have never had any success with growing them before.
By the way, I am thinking about doing something different with new work moving forward. I still haven't found what it is, but it will happen.
The bitterly cold weather continued all week, but our hardy neighbours got out into the communal grove and built this wonderful igloo!
Probably on the phone, sometimes watching TV, your mind isn’t on the biro you use to write a date or a number on a scrap of paper or the kitchen notepad. On hold with that music in a loop, after many minutes you look at what you have done. It wasn’t boredom so much as a vacancy in time when your hand embellished those dates, numbers, and meter readings with springing arabesques, whorls, arrows and roses while you weren’t looking. Or hands. Once, I drew a hand making a rude gesture while speaking with exquisite politeness to some poor guy in a BT call centre.
Some interesting things come out when you’re looking the other way. Keep them - they may get into your work or lead to totally new things. I cut out my favourite doodles and paste them into a notebook. It moves you out of being stuck because what you’re really thinking comes out when you’re looking the other way.
<<<<<<<< Twixmas in a pandemic >>>>>>>>
6 things to do on the twixy days
Finally, compose a 6 to view collage of your achievements. It should be tremendous. Post it on social media.
May you find things to make you happy and rejoice, even if your plans are not as they ought to be.
<<<<<<<< Wishing all a happy and healthy 2021 >>>>>>>>
One of my favourite Christmas decorations, a phone box, seems appropriate this year because most of us are going to stay in touch with each other remotely over the festive season. FaceTime and Zoom shall abound, and Santa will be kept busy at Amazon instead of popping down the chimney for a dram and mince pies. May you have a fun-filled holiday, even if it isn't what you hoped Santa would bring, and enjoy.
Star Making Machine 150x300mm
Ink, monotype and gouache on Japanese tissue
I finished three works for the On a Small Scale exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery this week. Usually I catch the train to Edinburgh to hand them into the gallery, it's a highlight of my year - the beautiful journey across the Forth Bridges followed by a warm welcome when I arrive at the Gallery. This year was different, though, due to coronavirus measures. Fife, where I live, is in tier 2 restrictions at the moment while Edinburgh is higher in tier 3, and people have been told to remain in their own health board districts and not to travel unless absolutely necessary. I decided to post my works this year.
Read on for the maelstrom (or should that be Mailstrom?) of Jobsworth which followed ...
My 'honorary brother', Ian, has been in Venice for a few days. We grew up together in the same street in Scotland and did our spell in London at the same time, but now he lives in Germany so I don't see so much of him (especially these days when nobody sees much of anybody!) but we speak twice a week on the phone. Every day when he was in Venice he sent me photos of his hotel and places he had been, which I am sure unconsciously rubbed off on me because as I was deciding on a title for this one I realised there were references to canals, Renaissance buildings and motifs, the romantically scruffy and slightly broken feel of Venice, misty vague shapes, and I noticed the unreadable writing in a foreign language (asemic text) had a distinctly dangly appearance. Ian had sent me a photo of the most beautiful old Murano glass chandelier (in his bedroom!!!) which made a huge impression on me - I love it so much, I reckon without knowing it the chandelier influenced the delicacy and suspended nature of the lettering.
So, this one is titled Letter From Venice. It will be going off to the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh for inclusion in the annual Christmas Exhibition On a Small Scale along with two other works of A5 dimensions. The exhibition is going to be online for the first time in its history. It was a good move on the Gallery's part because who knows which Covid alert tier Edinburgh, or any of our cities and towns, will be in next month. If the spread of the virus doesn't slow down it could happen that non-essential businesses will be forced to close their doors again. If that does happen, the show goes on - three cheers for the internet!
... is a sheet of toughened glass, which my partner B also uses as a surface to muller his paints. He makes his paints by hand and for that purpose he constructed the wooden jig you can see surrounding the glass. This holds the glass steady, and he can put sheets of white paper underneath which can be changed when they get dirty. It is a clever, practical invention which works brilliantly for making monotypes, lucky me! Here it is on my work table, all freshly cleaned after I finished for the day.
I'm going to be busy at the weekend - my beautiful god-daughter (B's daughter, yes it's a bit Fleabag), owner of vegan The Beans Bakery on Instagram, and her fab YouTuber husband Ben are coming to stay for the weekend. We haven't seen Ben for nearly three years, and it's been nearly a year since we saw Molly, as they had both planned an Easter visit which didn't happen because of lockdown. We are all so excited about the weekend!
Next week I will be back on the monotypes and I'll maybe show the glass in action.
Meanwhile, check out Beardo Benjo on You Tube, especially if you are partial to a little spooky horror gaming!
We have just had the busiest 3 weeks. As soon as lockdown restrictions were eased here in Scotland it was all hands on deck as we focused our full attention on our old house which has been on the market for nearly two years. We do have buyers, an enthusiastic young couple who are a perfect fit for the property and itching to move in, and it was actually all systems go on the sale back in February. Of course everything then suddenly came to a halt, and we couldn’t even get out to the house to do routine maintenance and cleaning etc until 3 weeks ago.
It’s an old house and had been sitting empty all through the winter followed by lockdown, but in all that time it had fared better than expected. Nonetheless, the usual list of tasks and jobs had stacked up along with the cobwebs, and naturally we wanted to make sure the house was as spick and span as possible before the buyers made their first visit since before lockdown. It was lovely to be back there, cleaning and repainting, warming the place through and generally bringing it back to life. It was a very rewarding time, but any thoughts I may have entertained about getting any artwork done during that time quickly vanished. Also, we had disconnected the phone and internet when we moved out, so no blogs or Instagram happened at all. To cap it all, once we finished work on the house we both came down with a nasty norovirus type tummy bug last week.
However, everything is done and we are much better now. The world is beginning to open up a little into the ‘new normal’ and things are moving on - so I am hoping that this coming week I will be able to start getting back into my work. I always try to make both my blogs as different as possible to reflect the differing areas of my work, but naturally, as Binky McKee and Heather Eliza Walker are actually both me, this week’s entry will have to do for both! I did give Binky's a winter photo and used a summer one here to make them a bit different.
For weeks now I have been contemplating how people or characters might look in the templates drawings. The little figures above came out of the children's book I have been illustrating. I made this digital mockup with one of my recent drawings on my iPad and was quite taken with how the people look solitary and overwhelmed by their environment. They look like explorers on their Grand Tour, but the scene also reminds me of our local park where people are taking their daily exercise during lockdown. The entrance to the park is on a hill overlooking the park, and solitary walkers can be seen scattered amongst the trees and meadow areas. In that respect it brings to mind the works of Lowry, or even some of Henri Rousseau's beautiful works like Carnival Evening.
I spotted this fantastic example of four different systems crossing each other while out on our daily walk: the plant, its shadow, woodgrain, and saw-marks on a felled tree. Of course I didn't have a phone or camera with me, so when I got home I got my phone and returned to the scene. It was worth it both to have collected this image which I find deeply interesting, but I also met a beautiful little pug pup - his body was pale sandy coloured, with a black face.
It's my birthday today, and I opened an Etsy shop as a gift to myself - at long last! I will be stocking it gradually with watercolours, including these 6 from the week. When I have enough listings to make it interesting, I'll link to it from this blog.
In the mean time, I hope everyone enjoys the bank holiday weekend in lockdown!
Up to no.98 now, I have definitely decided to stop the templates diary in favour of making artworks in their own right once I have reached 100. I'll continue with the book itself as a sketchbook for experiments, rather than a diary, as I have several ideas lined up to try - at least, for as long as the book can be closed, it's already bulky with so much thick paint and collage.
If you visited this page earlier and saw an image of a cushion here instead of these drawings, it was because of a weird bug which confuses images from this blog with ones from my illustration and design blog at Binky McKee if they have the same title (i.e. the date posted). I must get more inventive with my titling! It's comforting to see there are other kinds of bugs than coronavirus around at the moment.
I couldn't believe it when I noticed I have been doing these for 15 weeks now ...
Welcome to my work journal. I usually post here once a week on Sunday, but there are often 'bonus' posts in between of interesting things like growing carrot tops and avocado pits, the odd piece of work I do as Binky, and news items.
Thanks for stopping by!
As well as the work you see here, I illustrate under the name of Binky McKee (my mother's maiden name was McKee, Binky was every single one of my great grandmother's many cats!)
If you would like to visit my Binky website, please click the picture above.
A symbol on the footpath outside a local primary school gradually disappearing, photographed at intervals of several months.
(My shoes look so new in the first pic!)
(Sorry the archives don't nest!)
A 2013 work book, still very much in use
Please note all images on this website are ©Heather Eliza Walker 2013 - 2020, and may not be used or reproduced without prior consent.