#243 theoldmortuary ponders

The search for squares of abstract colour and shape in my local neighborhood has become all consuming. My current group of images are all early morning shots in bright sunlight. This shot is of my own front door. Evening walks bring different crazy combinations of colours and shapes and I make a mental note to return to a particular area in the morning to see if it is as interesting in morning light.

My evening walk took me past the location of this combination.

It is not so mouth wateringly sharp, at dusk, especially on a damp grey evening. But in the evening other senses take over as the lime green is the exterior wall colour of a local restaurant. Still mouth watering though, for entirely different reasons.

We are having an out and about kind of weekend. Trying to get somewhere with 50% of local knowledge, some vague and bad instructions and those two elements over riding the practicality of using a SatNav. Thank goodness for going on a wrong road, we found an old Wharfside area, the road runs along the backside of very old waterside buildings, scarred and patched up as their uses have changed. The perfect location to find more abstract areas to photograph.

Nature, as is often the case, adding another layer of interest once I got up close.

Sunburst Lichen for a Sunday morning. Have a good Sunday, pondering .

#242 theoldmortuary ponders

Another locally sourced colour square has been created today. This one is a corroded corner of a closed corner shop.

As I traverse the local streets it is very obvious that the time of day and weather conditions really affect the tiny colour snapshots that I take with my camera phone. The old corner shop catches the sun beautifully in the morning. The corner shop is fondly held in the heart of this community. When we moved here it was on the downward turn and did not immediately grab our attention and then just like that it was closed and then, not so long after, floral tributes and messages of condolence appeared. Rather incongruously a large sun hat with the words ‘ On Cloud Nine’ appeared.

Not having been part of a community that loses a much loved character and very popular shop there is a sense of dislocation and puzzlement at what we may have missed. Anecdotally I am aware that we missed a much loved shopkeeper called Ann. Everyone says what a wonderful person she was and what a hub of the community the shop was. There was definitely a sense that something locally important had been lost. The hat as an act of remembrance puzzled me. On Cloud Nine usually denotes someone who is extremely happy. Perhaps the hat was reflecting the character of the departed shopkeeper. Cloud nine is actually a very specific type of cloud. The etymology of Cloud Nine makes nothing clear.


The origin of sense 1 (“a state of bliss”) is uncertain; however, the following etymology has been suggested:

The first edition of the International Cloud Atlas (1896),[1] which defined ten types of cloud, described the ninth type as the cumulonimbus which rises to 10 km (6.2 miles), the highest a cloud can be.[2]
Compare cloud seven (“state of complete happiness or euphoria”),[3] which may have originated from confusion of cloud nine with seventh heaven.[2]

Sense 2 (“a state of fantastic or impractical dreaming or thinking”) may be due to a confusion between sense 1 and the phrase head in the clouds.

So, on this occasion, pondering has made me none the wiser. A sun hat embroidered with the words ‘ on cloud nine’ is a very unusual object to place as an act of remembrance on the steps of a closed corner shop. I suspect it will always remain a mystery to me, but I will ponder it often when I walk past.

#241 theoldmortuary ponders

I am still trying to capture squares of colour in Stonehouse as first mentioned in blog #239. The early morning light gives me completely different colour combinations to sunset and I’ve decided to limit myself to early morning squares of colour for this first painting.

The dogs are complicit in these morning sojourns to gather watercolour inspiration. Yesterday I rewarded myself with a coffee and croissant down by one of the harbours. The dogs need for croissant was apparently just as important as mine. Their faces trap more crumbs than mine which is saying something, croissant crumbs have the tenacity of Super Glue sometimes.

On our little colour square hunt we found the door to the Edes Vinegar/Pickled Onion workshop open and got a fabulous stolen interior shot of the vinegar barrels.

I think local people would, quite likely, want to bop me on the nose if I tried to do a series of images of just inside their front doors. But this one is a gem.

Normal life got in the way of too much painting yesterday. So just the one square completed.

We do have quite an abstract little square going on at our own front door.

Hugo and Lola were not the only dogs, yesterday, to participate in proper human activities. The bobbers were out in force to support Helen Bobber, who was knocking peoples socks off at the Who’d Have Thought It , Open Mic session. Here are Stan and Ralph, Bobberdogs, eager to get to the pub and listen to soulful sounds.

Hugo and Lola stayed at home, four dogs at an Open Mic is at least two too many to be comfortable. Especially as Helen is now fully recovered from Covid and after some months can easily hit her high notes.

She is also an abstract square all of her own making.

#239 theoldmortuary ponders

Bright sunshine set me off on a project yesterday. Stonehouse Peninsular is known for its architecture, history, sea views and brightly coloured buildings. I took off early in the morning to capture some of the colour combinations on camera before the sun got too high.

The plan is to create an abstract watercolour that features some of the beautiful and whacky colour combinations that occur when neighbouring buildings get a paint job. There are also beautiful abstracts that just occur naturally when colours follow the contours of the buildings.


Others are just subtly beautiful just because of age.

The one below I particularly love because a grubby downpipe becomes the star of the watercolor.

This is a project that is going to keep me very busy this summer!

#233 theoldmortuary ponders

Watercolour scraps.

Its been quite the painting day here, but first the morning bob needs a mention purely for its novelty moment. It is not unusual for us to be passed, at some point, by Royal Marines out on training runs. What is unusual, however, is to hear the command, “Shirts off” and just like that the Marines took their shirts off and plunged in the sea.

The Bobbers, of course, were completely cool with this but not so another swimmer. The Marines chose a good day, it was a fabulous swim.

Meanwhile the outside of our house is being given a big makeover. Dark blue masonry paint and a yellow front door. The decision had been made and the paint purchased but moments before the paint was applied I was still checking Pinterest to see if the colour combination worked on other peoples houses.

I was in a deconstructing mood and chopped up a watercolour that had been deliberately painted to be cut up.

The scraps are endlessly fascinating.

Below is the reason for creating all this vivid mess.

These squares represent nearly a year of observing the sea colours on my daily walks on the Stonehouse Peninsular. This is my first experiment with the technique . #1 stacked up in the studio.

#225 theoldmortuary ponders.

Curating and managing group art exhibitions is a rewarding experience. The positives are really valuable to working artists. Seeing what other artists submit is a pleasure and inspiring in equal measure to artists and our visitors

So much frenetic work goes into these temporary exhibitions and yet there are also moments of great calm, often when there are no visitors. Time to really concentrate on one or two pieces of art created by someone else is a real treat.

Listening to visitors comments within their visiting groups is also real guilty pleasure of mine. So much to be learned in a creative space. Spring and summer are the time these fleeting amateur art exhibitions pop up in neighbourhoods all over the world. Don’t just drive or walk past, if you have the time, pop in, for just a few minutes you can step into multiple other worlds. It won’t make the world a better place but it might make you smile.